IZA DP No. 16552: Air Pollution and Time Use: Evidence from India
We investigate how air pollution impacts outdoor activity avoidance, leveraging changes in local wind direction in an instrumental variable setup for causal identification. Our findings reveal a substantial reduction in time spent outdoors during polluted days, mainly driven by decreased engagement in employment-related activities. This effect varies significantly across age, education level, usual principal activity status, consumption expenditure, and residential location. Moreover, reduced outdoor time due to air pollution can potentially promote a more equitable allocation of unpaid caregiving responsibilities within households via increased male involvement. Our results rule out information provision as the primary mechanism and remain robust under various sensitivity tests.