Antonio Avila-Uribe

PhD candidate at the London School of Economics 

'La Caixa' Foundation postgraduate fellow 


 I'm a fourth-year PhD candidate at LSE, and I am on the 2023/2024 Academic Job Market

My work focuses on the economic effects of air pollution, environmental conditions, and their related public policies. My main research interests broadly involve studying...


Job Market Paper:
The effect of air pollution on US aggregate production 

I study the effects of PM2.5 on county-level GDP, GDP per capita, and GDP per employee in the United States (2006-2018). I instrument yearly air pollution exposure by county with wildfire-induced PM2.5 exposure from air trajectories simulations. 

Contrary to recent studies in China and the EU, which find large overall negative effects, my results show no overall effect for the US. However, economically relevant negative effects are present in rural areas, during working days or when base levels or air pollution are above the median. The results are robust to various alternative specifications and alternative instruments previously used in the literature, such as thermal inversions or smoke plume polygons.

Finally, I perform back-of-the envelope calculations with the estimates of compliance costs and reduction of pollution from the Clean Air Act Amendments. They suggest that the cost of reducing air pollution nationwide is around half the size of the increases in rural areas' GDP it creates. 

Read Job Market Paper                 See Twitter thread  

Low Emission Zones and local production: The case of German cities 

This paper provides the first estimates of the impact of Low Emission Zones on the growth and structure of the local economy by using their staggered introduction in German cities since 2008. 

More than 400 Low Emission Zones (LEZ) have been adopted in Europe. While LEZ impose restrictions on vehicle use and are sometimes criticised for “hurting the economy”, recent literature suggests LEZ could improve economic performance through their proven reduction of air pollution. 

I find that the application of Low Emission Zones permanently reduced local GDP by 4.5% on average (≈790€ billion per year for the subset of cities studied). The driving factor of the negative effect I find is a reduction in productivity and employment. 

LEZ slightly changed the structure of the local economy away from industry (decreased from 25% to 23.5% of GVA) and towards public services (increased from 24% to 14.8% of GVA) and local commerce and personal services (increased from 20% to 20.7% of GVA). These results suggest that the restrictions from LEZ, and the substantial capital losses they generate to sectors that rely on high-polluting vehicles, might produce large and previously unaccounted costs (and changes) to the local economy.

Working paper available upon request

Selected work in progress

(With Anomitro Chatterjee, Daire McCoy, and Ganga Shreedhar)

(With Sefi Roth)

Other work

(With Dzhamilya Nigmatulina) 

Coverage: [CEPR VoxEU, Nada es Gratis (Spanish)]