Will You Work Less, Mommy? The Effect of Air Pollution on Labor Supply in South Korea
We investigate whether air pollution affects labor supply in South Korea. To address endogeneity in the level of local air pollution, we utilize plausibly exogenous changes in wind directions as instruments. This choice is based on the observation that air pollution in South Korea is affected by spillovers from the neighboring countries, mediated by wind directions. We find that mothers reduce working hours in response to the worsening air quality, and the impact attenuates, as children grow. Children’s vulnerability to the air pollutants and mothers’ role as the principal caregiver are the probable reason that drives the results.
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