Climate Change and Test Scores: The Case of Heatwaves in Italy

Risto Conte Keivabu , European University Insitute

One of the outcomes of climate change is the increase in average temperatures and the occurrence of heatwaves. High temperatures affect human health and behaviour in several ways. For example, it has been showed to increase aggressiveness, conflicts and suicides. Also, extreme heat lowers cognitive abilities and productivity. Here, I focus on the effect of heatwaves on cognitive abilities analysing test scores of 8th graders in Italy. In the last decade, there has been an increase in the number of days of extreme heat in May and June. For example, the month of June in 2017 has been the hottest registered since the Second World War. Arguably, these anomalies in the climate affect the human capital accumulation of test-takers. 8th graders sit the INVALSI test in the mid of June. The test has high stakes for the students as it affects their overall graduation grade. Therefore, I aim to understand the medium-term effects of heatwaves on student’s educational attainment. To do so, I will observe how high temperatures in the spring months preceding the INVALSI test affect students scores. Moreover, I will inquire how extreme heat aggravates existing inequalities in educational attainment dependent on socioeconomic status.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy