Pollution in Ugandan Cities: Do Managers Avoid it or Adapt in Place?

Working Paper
Published on 14 July 2021


Developing countries suffer from rising urban pollution levels, with associated negative effects on health and worker productivity. We study how managers in developing country cities cope with the polluted environment. We collect high resolution pollution measurements within Ugandan cities and match these with a novel firm survey. We find that firms locate in close proximity to major polluted roads, which bundle a bad (exposure to pollution) with a good (market demand). Higher ability managers do not avoid polluted areas, but better adapt to the pollution by protecting their workers through both provision of
equipment and flexibility in work schedules.


Vittorio Bassi

University of Southern California

Matthew Kahn

University of Southern California

Nancy Lozano Gracia

World Bank

Tommaso Porzio

Columbia University

Jeanne Sorin

University of Chicago