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An Unusual Effect of Air Pollution

A new study by Yale SOM’s Mushfiq Mobarak, Gaurav Khanna of the University of California, San Diego, Wenquan Liang of Jinan University, and Ran Song of Harvard University finds that increasing levels of air pollution is driving educated and skilled workers out of those cities. This unusual effect of air pollution is gravely affecting the economic growth of that city.

The researchers studied 18 years of pollution data and migration records in China to find that the highly skilled and educated workers were leaving more often than others. They were leaving places that had low levels of skilled workers and high levels of pollution for cities with high levels of skilled workers with low levels of pollution. There was no demand for the highly skilled labor in the new cities because of the already existing skilled population. While there was a demand and need for the skilled workers in the cities they were leaving. So, this drastically tipped the scales of productivity overall causing this unusual effect of air pollution.

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