Air pollution has been found to have negative effects on various aspects of human life. However, the burden of these effects are disproportionately shared by certain groups, including children. Research on effect of air pollution on cognitive performance started to surface post the first decade of the 21st century, however most of them are set in context of a developed country. There were also very few research that studied these effects for children in the age group of 4-6yrs. This study contributes to the literature on both these fronts. Using test scores of 539 children in the age-group of 4-6yrs, the relationship between air pollution and cognitive performance is studied. The OLS estimates provide mixed results of PM2.5, CO and O3 being positive and statistically significant, indicating a marginal (less than 1 more correct answer in all three cases) increase in number of correct answers given by a child with a unit increase in these pollutants. However, a unit increase in NH3 decreases the number of correct answers given by a child by almost 2 answers (-1.66). Although, the study cannot provide any conclusive direction for the effect of air pollution on cognitive performance, it provides a direction for exploration of the effects of the NH3, a resultant pollutant from poorly managed waste (including human and animal waste) on individuals forced to live in close proximality to it, especially in urban cities like Bengaluru.

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Bedi, Arjun Singh
Economics of Development (ECD)
International Institute of Social Studies

Jain, Harsha. (2021, December 17). The effect of air pollution on cognitive performance of children. Economics of Development (ECD). Retrieved from