American University of Beirut
P.O.Box 11-0236 / Department of Economics
Beirut 1107 2020
Institutional Affiliation: American University of Beirut, Department of Economics
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|March 2020||The Effect of Open-Air Waste Burning on Infant Health: Evidence from Government Failure in Lebanon|
with Ruba Ajeeb, Mark Hoekstra: w26835
An estimated 40 percent of the world's garbage is burned in open-air fires, which are responsible for as much as half of the global emissions of some pollutants. However, there is little evidence on the health consequences of open-air waste burning. In this paper, we estimate the effect of in utero exposure to open-air waste burning on birth outcomes. We do so by examining the consequences of the Lebanese garbage crisis of 2015, which led to an abrupt, unanticipated increase in waste burning in residential neighborhoods in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. To identify effects, we exploit variation in exposure across neighborhoods before and after the crisis. Results indicate exposure had large impacts on birth outcomes; in utero exposure to at least one open-air waste burn increased premature ...
|June 2016||Peer Quality and the Academic Benefits to Attending Better Schools|
with Mark Hoekstra, Yaojing Wang: w22337
Despite strong demand for attending high schools with better peers, there is mixed evidence on whether doing so improves academic outcomes. We estimate the cognitive returns to high school quality using administrative data on a high-stakes college entrance exam in China. To overcome selection bias, we use a regression discontinuity design that compares applicants barely above and below high school admission thresholds. Results indicate that while peer quality improves significantly across all sets of admission cutoffs, the only increase in performance occurs from attending Tier I high schools. Further evidence suggests that the returns to high school quality are driven by teacher quality, rather than peer quality or class size.
Published: Mark Hoekstra & Pierre Mouganie & Yaojing Wang, 2018. "Peer Quality and the Academic Benefits to Attending Better Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, vol 36(4), pages 841-884.