IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/envpol/v20y2018i2d10.1007_s10018-017-0196-3.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Avoidance behavior against air pollution: evidence from online search indices for anti-PM2.5 masks and air filters in Chinese cities

Author

Listed:
  • Tong Liu

    (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

  • Guojun He

    (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

  • Alexis Lau

    (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

This study investigates people’s behavioral responses to air pollution information in China. We find that elevated air pollution levels are positively associated with higher online searches for anti-PM2.5 masks and air filters. A 10 µg/m3 increase in PM2.5 is associated with a 3.6–8.4% increase of mobile queries for anti-PM2.5 masks, and 1.1–4.7% for air filters. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find that a haze alert issued when PM2.5 concentration exceeds 250 µg/m3 would double online queries for anti-PM2.5 masks and air filters. Online searches are also positively correlated with online sales. One day of severe pollution would induce a cost of 0.2 million USD on online expenditure on anti-PM2.5 masks. Some suggestive evidence shows that people in richer and polluted cities tend to search more for anti-PM2.5 masks and air filters than those in poorer and cleaner cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Tong Liu & Guojun He & Alexis Lau, 2018. "Avoidance behavior against air pollution: evidence from online search indices for anti-PM2.5 masks and air filters in Chinese cities," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 20(2), pages 325-363, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:envpol:v:20:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10018-017-0196-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s10018-017-0196-3
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10018-017-0196-3
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s10018-017-0196-3?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hyunyoung Choi & Hal Varian, 2012. "Predicting the Present with Google Trends," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(s1), pages 2-9, June.
    2. He, Guojun & Fan, Maoyong & Zhou, Maigeng, 2016. "The effect of air pollution on mortality in China: Evidence from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 18-39.
    3. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell & Wolfram Schlenker, 2011. "Water Quality Violations and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from Bottled Water Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 448-453, May.
    4. Nikolaos Askitas & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2009. "Google Econometrics and Unemployment Forecasting," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 55(2), pages 107-120.
    5. Currie, Janet & Neidell, Matthew & Schmieder, Johannes F., 2009. "Air pollution and infant health: Lessons from New Jersey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 688-703, May.
    6. Janet Currie & Joshua Graff Zivin & Jamie Mullins & Matthew Neidell, 2014. "What Do We Know About Short- and Long-Term Effects of Early-Life Exposure to Pollution?," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 217-247, October.
    7. Shimshack, Jay P. & Ward, Michael B. & Beatty, Timothy K.M., 2007. "Mercury advisories: Information, education, and fish consumption," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 158-179, March.
    8. Ghanem, Dalia & Zhang, Junjie, 2014. "‘Effortless Perfection:’ Do Chinese cities manipulate air pollution data?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 203-225.
    9. Konstantin A. Kholodilin & Maximilian Podstawski & Boriss Siliverstovs, 2010. "Do Google Searches Help in Nowcasting Private Consumption?: A Real-Time Evidence for the US," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 997, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    10. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2012. "The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3652-3673, December.
    11. Koichiro Ito & Shuang Zhang, 2020. "Willingness to Pay for Clean Air: Evidence from Air Purifier Markets in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(5), pages 1627-1672.
    12. Cutter, W. Bowman & Neidell, Matthew, 2009. "Voluntary information programs and environmental regulation: Evidence from 'Spare the Air'," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 253-265, November.
    13. Smith, Geoffrey Peter, 2012. "Google Internet search activity and volatility prediction in the market for foreign currency," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 103-110.
    14. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2012. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 933-959.
    15. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
    16. Stigler, George J., 2011. "Economics of Information," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 5, pages 35-49.
    17. Mansfield, Carol & Reed Johnson, F. & Van Houtven, George, 2006. "The missing piece: Valuing averting behavior for children's ozone exposures," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 215-228, August.
    18. Saberian, Soodeh & Heyes, Anthony & Rivers, Nicholas, 2017. "Alerts work! Air quality warnings and cycling," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 165-185.
    19. Prashant Bharadwaj & Matthew Gibson & Joshua Graff Zivin & Christopher Neilson, 2017. "Gray Matters: Fetal Pollution Exposure and Human Capital Formation," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 505-542.
    20. Zhang, Xin & Zhang, Xiaobo & Chen, Xi, 2017. "Valuing Air Quality Using Happiness Data: The Case of China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 29-36.
    21. Sun, Cong & Kahn, Matthew E. & Zheng, Siqi, 2017. "Self-protection investment exacerbates air pollution exposure inequality in urban China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 468-474.
    22. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2013. "Environment, Health, and Human Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 689-730, September.
    23. Sebastian Calonico & Matias D. Cattaneo & Rocio Titiunik, 2014. "Robust Nonparametric Confidence Intervals for Regression‐Discontinuity Designs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 2295-2326, November.
    24. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 159-208.
    25. Chen Yuyu & Jin Ginger Zhe & Kumar Naresh & Shi Guang, 2012. "Gaming in Air Pollution Data? Lessons from China," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(3), pages 1-43, December.
    26. Timothy J. Bartik, 2008. "Evaluating the Benefits of Non-marginal Reductions in Pollution Using Information on Defensive Expenditures," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Joseph Herriges & Catherine L. Kling (ed.),Revealed Preference Approaches to Environmental Valuation, volume 0, pages 459-475, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    27. Tom Chang & Joshua Graff Zivin & Tal Gross & Matthew Neidell, 2016. "Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 141-169, August.
    28. Jason Kuruzovich & Siva Viswanathan & Ritu Agarwal & Sanjay Gosain & Scott Weitzman, 2008. "Marketspace or Marketplace? Online Information Search and Channel Outcomes in Auto Retailing," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 19(2), pages 182-201, June.
    29. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
    30. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030.
    31. Courant, Paul N. & Porter, Richard C., 1981. "Averting expenditure and the cost of pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 321-329, December.
    32. Konstantin Kholodilin & Maximilian Podstawski & Boriss Siliverstovs, 2010. "Do Google Searches Help in Nowcasting Private Consumption?," KOF Working papers 10-256, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    33. Roger D. Peng & Francesca Dominici & Thomas A. Louis, 2006. "Model choice in time series studies of air pollution and mortality," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(2), pages 179-203, March.
    34. Enrico Moretti & Matthew Neidell, 2011. "Pollution, Health, and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from the Ports of Los Angeles," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(1), pages 154-175.
    35. Li, Zhengtao & Folmer, Henk & Xue, Jianhong, 2014. "To what extent does air pollution affect happiness? The case of the Jinchuan mining area, China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 88-99.
    36. Janet Currie & Reed Walker, 2011. "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 65-90, January.
    37. Zhang, Wei & Shen, Dehua & Zhang, Yongjie & Xiong, Xiong, 2013. "Open source information, investor attention, and asset pricing," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 613-619.
    38. Francesca Dominici & Aidan M.C. Dermott & Trevor J. Hastie, 2004. "Improved Semiparametric Time Series Models of Air Pollution and Mortality," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 99, pages 938-948, December.
    39. Graff Zivin, Joshua & Neidell, Matthew, 2009. "Days of haze: Environmental information disclosure and intertemporal avoidance behavior," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 119-128, September.
    40. Matthew Neidell, 2009. "Information, Avoidance Behavior, and Health: The Effect of Ozone on Asthma Hospitalizations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. He, Guojun & Liu, Tong & Zhou, Maigeng, 2020. "Straw burning, PM2.5, and death: Evidence from China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C).
    2. Yi, Fujin & Ye, Haijian & Wu, Ximing & Zhang, Y. Yvette & Jiang, Fei, 2020. "Self-aggravation effect of air pollution: Evidence from residential electricity consumption in China," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).
    3. Magali A. Delmas & Aanchal Kohli, 2020. "Can Apps Make Air Pollution Visible? Learning About Health Impacts Through Engagement with Air Quality Information," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 161(2), pages 279-302, January.
    4. Antoci, Angelo & Borghesi, Simone & Galeotti, Marcello & Sodini, Mauro, 2021. "Living in an uncertain world: Environment substitution, local and global indeterminacy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    5. Cheung, Chun Wai & He, Guojun & Pan, Yuhang, 2020. "Mitigating the air pollution effect? The remarkable decline in the pollution-mortality relationship in Hong Kong," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    6. Patrick Gourley, 0. "What are the Long-Term Effects of Prenatal Air Pollution Exposure? Evidence from the BHPS," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 0, pages 1-33.
    7. Patrick Gourley, 2020. "What are the Long-Term Effects of Prenatal Air Pollution Exposure? Evidence from the BHPS," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 603-635, October.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2013. "Environment, Health, and Human Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 689-730, September.
    2. Dolores de la Mata & Carlos Felipe Gaviria Garces, 2019. "Exposure to Pollution and Infant Health: Evidence from Colombia," CINCH Working Paper Series 1902, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health.
    3. Shihe Fu & V. Brian Viard, 2021. "A Mayor’s Perspective on Tackling Air Pollution," GRU Working Paper Series GRU_2021_009, City University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics and Finance, Global Research Unit.
    4. Ziebarth, N. R. & Schmitt, M. & Karlsson, M., 2013. "The short-term population health effects of weather and pollution: implications of climate change," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 13/34, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    5. He, Guojun & Liu, Tong & Zhou, Maigeng, 2020. "Straw burning, PM2.5, and death: Evidence from China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C).
    6. Williams, Austin M., 2019. "Understanding the micro-determinants of defensive behaviors against pollution," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 42-51.
    7. Lichter, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Sommer, Eric, 2017. "Productivity effects of air pollution: Evidence from professional soccer," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 54-66.
    8. He, Guojun & Fan, Maoyong & Zhou, Maigeng, 2016. "The effect of air pollution on mortality in China: Evidence from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 18-39.
    9. Felix Holub & Laura Hospido & Ulrich J. Wagner, 2020. "Urban air pollution and sick leaves: evidence from social security data," Working Papers 2041, Banco de España.
    10. Cheung, Chun Wai & He, Guojun & Pan, Yuhang, 2020. "Mitigating the air pollution effect? The remarkable decline in the pollution-mortality relationship in Hong Kong," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    11. Janet Currie & Joshua Graff Zivin & Katherine Meckel & Matthew Neidell & Wolfram Schlenker, 2013. "Something in the water: contaminated drinking water and infant health," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 46(3), pages 791-810, August.
    12. Štěpán Mikula & Mariola Pytliková, 2020. "Air Pollution & Migration: Exploiting a Natural Experiment from the Czech Republic," EconPol Working Paper 43, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    13. Sun, Cong & Kahn, Matthew E. & Zheng, Siqi, 2017. "Self-protection investment exacerbates air pollution exposure inequality in urban China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 468-474.
    14. Beland, Louis-Philippe & Oloomi, Sara, 2019. "Environmental disaster, pollution and infant health: Evidence from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(C).
    15. Luechinger, Simon, 2014. "Air pollution and infant mortality: A natural experiment from power plant desulfurization," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 219-231.
    16. Alison L. Sexton Ward & Timothy K. M. Beatty, 2016. "Who Responds to Air Quality Alerts?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 65(2), pages 487-511, October.
    17. Nicholas J. Sanders, 2012. "What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Weaker: Prenatal Pollution Exposure and Educational Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 826-850.
    18. Avraham Ebenstein & Maoyong Fan & Michael Greenstone & Guojun He & Peng Yin & Maigeng Zhou, 2015. "Growth, Pollution, and Life Expectancy: China from 1991-2012," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 226-231, May.
    19. Aragón, Fernando M. & Miranda, Juan Jose & Oliva, Paulina, 2017. "Particulate matter and labor supply: The role of caregiving and non-linearities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 295-309.
    20. Chen, Siyu & Guo, Chongshan & Huang, Xinfei, 2018. "Air Pollution, Student Health, and School Absences: Evidence from China," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 465-497.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Avoidance behavior; Air pollution; Haze alert; Online search; PM2.5;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:envpol:v:20:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10018-017-0196-3. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.