Risk-Taking and Air Pollution: Evidence from Chess

Joris Klingen*, Jos van Ommeren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Downloads (Pure)


Medical research suggests that particulate matter (PM) increases stress hormones, therefore increasing the feeling of stress, which has been hypothesised to induce individuals to take less risk. To examine this, we study whether PM 10 increases the probability of drawing in chess games using information from the Dutch club competition. We provide evidence of a reasonably strong effect: A 10 μg increase in PM 10 (33.6% of mean concentration) leads to a 5.6% increase in draws. We examine a range of explanations for these findings. Our preferred interpretation is that air pollution causes individuals to take less risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-93
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental and Resource Economics
Issue number1
Early online date16 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Air pollution
  • Decision-making
  • Particulate matter
  • Risk-taking

Cite this