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Air Pollution Quotas and the Dynamics of Internal Skilled Migration in Chinese Cities

Author

Listed:
  • Yu, Bo

    () (Deakin University)

  • Lee, Wang-Sheng

    () (Deakin University)

  • Rafiq, Shuddhasattwa

    () (Deakin University)

Abstract

This paper examines the role of a sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions quota introduced as part of China's 11th Five-Year Plan on internal movements of high-skilled labour across Chinese prefecture cities. Using data on migration flows calculated through changes in Hukou status, this study suggests that a 1,000 tons increase in the SO2 emissions reduction quota leads on average to approximately a 1.5 percentage points increase in high-skilled net outmigration. Compared to the largest prefectures, this regulation effect is twice as large in the smaller regulated prefectures. A possible mechanism could be that the implementation of SO2 quotas decreases relative labour demand in polluting industries in the regulated cities in the short term, thereby resulting in sectoral transitions from dirty-to-clean industries as well as skilled net outmigration flows. However, this net outmigration trend fades in the long term due to stabilisation in air quality. Our findings help contribute to a broader understanding of the effects of environmental policies on internal labour migration and labour force dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Yu, Bo & Lee, Wang-Sheng & Rafiq, Shuddhasattwa, 2020. "Air Pollution Quotas and the Dynamics of Internal Skilled Migration in Chinese Cities," IZA Discussion Papers 13479, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13479
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    air pollution; China; emissions quota; environmental policy; internal migration; sulphur dioxide;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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