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Skilled Workers are Leaving Polluted Cities

A new study co-authored by Yale SOM’s Mushfiq Mobarak finds that increasing air pollution is driving educated and skilled workers out of their cities. This huge shift in skilled work is gravely affecting the economic growth of that city.

Mobarak, along with Gaurav Khanna of the University of California, San Diego, Wenquan Liang of Jinan University, and Ran Song of Harvard University, studied data from 18 years of pollution and migration records in China. They found that educated and skilled workers were leaving polluted cities where there were, in fact, fewer educated and skilled workers. They were moving to cities that already had an adequate number of educated and skilled workers. Their absence where their skill is needed causes a drop in productivity in the cities they left, but also in the cities they move to because their skills are not heavily required there. So overall productivity in work drops significantly.

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