Benjamin Krebs

Postdoctoral Associate
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Welcome to my page! I am a Postdoctoral Associate at the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR). My main field of interest is empirical environmental economics. I conduct research on the effect of air pollution and other environmental factors on human-related outcomes. Further, I analyze the effectiveness as well as costs and benefits of environmental policies. I grew up in Switzerland and currently live in Massachusetts.

Peer-reviewed Articles

Krebs, Benjamin and Simon Luechinger (2024). Air Pollution, Cognitive Performance, and the Role of Task Proficiency. Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, forthcoming.

Krebs, Benjamin and Matthew Neidell (2024). Wildfires Exacerbate Inequalities in Indoor Pollution Exposure. Environmental Research Letters, 19 024043.

Krebs, Benjamin, Jennifer Burney, Joshua Graff Zivin, and Matthew Neidell (2021). Using Crowd-Sourced Data to Assess the Temporal and Spatial Relationship between Indoor and Outdoor Particulate Matter. Environmental Science & Technology 55(9), 6107–6115.

Krebs, Benjamin and Simon Luechinger (2020). The Effect of an Electricity Tax on Aggregate Electricity Consumption: Evidence from Basel. Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics 156(1), 1-20.
- Media: SRF, 10/10/2018; Ökonomenstimme, 04/15/2021

Working Papers

Krebs, Benjamin (2022). Temperature and Cognitive Performance. MIT CEEPR Working Paper 2022-019.
- Research Brief at CEEPR
- Revision requested at Environmental and Resource Economics

I estimate the effect of temperature on cognitive performance in online brain training games. As this setting represents everyday cognitive tasks, the results are indicative of how temperature affects people on a daily basis. With rising average temperatures and more frequent extreme heat, a thorough understanding of this relationship is central. I find that, above a threshold, a 1°C increase in ambient air temperature leads to a performance reduction of 0.13%. The effect is mostly driven by individuals living in relatively cold areas, who are less adapted to hot temperatures.

Work in Progress

The Diffusion of Residential Air Quality Monitors: Evidence from PurpleAir (with Joshua Graff Zivin and Matthew Neidell)

The advent of low-cost air pollution monitors has led to their rapid adoption in the past few years, with many hailing it as an important tool for improving public information about pollution exposure, given limited existing monitor networks. In this paper, we study the adoption of PurpleAir (PA) pollution monitors in the United States. By default, PA monitors broadcast their measurements through the PA website and phone application, making that information a local public good. The extent to which monitors improve the accuracy of the official monitoring network at fine spatial scales depends on the pattern of monitor adoption. From a purely informational perspective, the ideal spacing of monitors should reflect the degree of spatial correlation in pollution. We characterize the diffusion of monitors over time and assess the degree to which that pattern aligns with one focused exclusively on a value-of-information approach. Our results indicate that monitor adoption is spatially highly clustered in less polluted areas, suggesting the marginal monitor adopted provides minimal additional public information. Moreover, monitor adoption mainly occurs in affluent, predominantly white neighborhoods, exacerbating inequality in information.

Air Pollution and Running Performance (with Michael Keller and Simon Luechinger)

Fossil-Fuel Heating, Heat Pumps, and the Shift in Local Air Pollution

Measurement Error and Instrumental Variables in Estimating Air Pollution Effects (with Joshua Graff Zivin, Matthew Neidell, and Simon Luechinger)

Where There Is Smoke, There Are Movers: Climate Change Adaptation in Response to Wildfire Smoke (with Christopher Knittel)

Other Publications

Krebs, Benjamin and Joel O’Neill (2014). Neue Universitätsrankings für die Schweiz: Geist und Geld. CREMA Working Paper, 2014-02.
- Media: NZZ am Sonntag, 01/26/2014; Ökonomenstimme, 01/28/2014; SRF 01/28/2014

Empirical Environmental Economics, University of Lucerne (2023, 2022, 2021)

Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Lucerne (2022, 2021)

Microeconomics II exercises, University of Lucerne (2020, 2018, 2017)

Microceonomics I exercises, University of Lucerne (2016)

Find my CV here:


Benjamin Krebs
MIT Building E19-411
400 Main Street, 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142-1017

bkrebs at mit dot edu