Waiting for my Sentence: Nitrogen Oxides and the Productivity of Court Rulings

Luis Sarmiento

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Abstract

I assert that nitrogen oxides affect the cognitive productivity of lawyers, judges, and prosecutors participating in Mexican court hearings. This is the first article to document an effect of nitrogen oxides on labor productivity and the first to study the effect of pollution on judicial workers. I analyze the connection between both variables by merging hourly pollution measures with individual-level hearing data under the assumption that the length of the hearing approximates the productivity of involved participants. Causality comes from the use of panel and instrumental variable techniques alongside a substantial set of robustness and placebo tests. In the preferred specification, one standard deviation increase of nitrogen oxides increases the length of judiciary hearings by 3.68%.

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