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

Graff Zivin, Joshua, Benjamin Krebs, and Matthew Neidell (2024). Private Adoption of Public Good Technologies: The Case of PurpleAir. NBER Working Paper No. 32356.

We study the private adoption and diffusion of a technology that provides a local public good – PurpleAir (PA) pollution monitors. From a purely informational perspective, the ideal spacing of these monitors should reflect the degree of spatial correlation in pollution. In stark contrast, we find 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, underscoring the potential environmental justice concerns associated with the private provision of this public good.

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

With rising average temperatures and extreme heat events becoming more frequent, understanding the ramifications for cognitive performance is essential. I estimate the effect of outside air temperature on performance in mental arithmetic training games. Using data from 31,000 individuals and 1.15 million games played, I analyze frequent engagement in a cognitively challenging task in a non-stressful and familiar environment. I find that, above a threshold of 16.5°C, a 1°C increase in outside 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.

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