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Learn more about Marion's research on transitioning to low-carbon and low-pollution economies

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Prior to joining the Institute for Fiscal Studies, as a Postdoc, Marion Leroutier was Misum's Postdoc Fellow, and apart of the Human Capital and Sustainable Development Platform for two years. Marion's research focuses on understanding the benefits of transitioning to a low-carbon and low-pollution economy, the factors that currently hinder this transition, and the policies that can accelerate it. 



At the start of my PhD, I had two goals with my research. First, I wanted to investigate the extent to which phasing out fossil fuels could bring about not only climate benefits, but also health and economic benefits resulting from reduced atmospheric pollution. Second, I wanted to understand how much emphasizing these health benefits could enhance support for stringent climate policy. On the first question, I realized during my PhD that carefully estimating the contribution of different sectors of the economy to air pollution, and the associated health and economic cost for society, was a research agenda in itself. I’m still working on this agenda now.

On the second question, with the Covid-19 pandemic unfolding in the middle of my PhD, I realized how the salience of health risks could be an important determinant of support for otherwise costly mitigation measures. Strikingly, ambient air pollution has been estimated to cause more premature deaths globally in 2019 than the covid-19 pandemic in 2020. But these deaths are not salient at all: it takes fancy statistical methods to pin down air pollution’s effect on mortality, and “air pollution” is never the reported cause of death. This lack of salience could explain why climate change and local pollution are challenging to regulate and citizens unwilling to implement costly mitigation measures, while strict social distancing during covid was effectively implemented in most countries.

Together with the salience of environmental risks, I have also become interested in the role of social norms and identity formation in shaping green policy support. These factors come on top of others already identified in the literature and explaining the implementation gap in climate policy-making, such as collective action problems, the cost of regulation, distributional concerns and the role of vested interests.



I was a Misum postdoc from September 2021 to August 2023. This means I had the luxury of spending two years focusing on the research topics that interest me and preparing the next step of my career: securing an assistant professorship position. I also had the chance to interact with other research affiliates and discuss new research ideas with them. Finally, I benefited greatly from attending Misum seminars and hearing about sustainability from the perspective of accounting, finance, entrepreneurship and management. In particular, I enjoyed learning about the role of investors and accounting standards in shaping firms’ climate footprint.



I’m currently working on two projects investigating the societal costs of air pollution, both with data from France. One project focuses on the effect of short-term pollution spikes on workers’ absenteeism and firms’ economic performance. The other project examines the long-term effect of growing up in a polluted region for the generation of children born in the 1980s, who were exposed to different pollution levels due to energy policy reforms.

I’ve also recently started a project dealing with inequalities in exposure to air pollution in the UK, with my new colleagues at the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London. 

Recent Publications



Ideally, I would like to gain a better understanding of the benefits from transitioning to a low-carbon economy and the factors hindering the transition. I also hope to pass on this knowledge to policy-makers and citizens. And of course, I’d like to inspire the next generation of students to take the climate crisis into account in their career choice, within or outside academia.




I would absolutely recommend Merchants of Doubt, by historians of science Naomi Oreskes and Eric M Conway. It’s a fascinating account of how a handful of scientists allied with industry interests managed to create doubts on crucial health and environmental issues such as the effect of tobacco on cancer and the reality of man-made climate change, effectively slowing down government regulation around these issues in the US and beyond.

More about Misum here.