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Self-Protection Investment Exacerbates Air Pollution Exposure Inequality in Urban China

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  • Siqi Zheng
  • Cong Sun
  • Matthew E. Kahn

Abstract

Urban China’s high levels of ambient air pollution both lowers quality of life and raises mortality risk. China’s wealthy have the purchasing power to purchase private products such as portable room air filters that allows them to offset some of the pollution exposure risk. Using a unique data set of Internet purchases, we document that households invest more in masks and air filter products when ambient pollution levels exceed key alert thresholds. Richer people are more likely to invest in air filters, which are much more expensive than masks. Our findings have implications for trends in inequality in human capital accumulation and in quality of life inequality in urban China.

Suggested Citation

  • Siqi Zheng & Cong Sun & Matthew E. Kahn, 2015. "Self-Protection Investment Exacerbates Air Pollution Exposure Inequality in Urban China," NBER Working Papers 21301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21301
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Self Protection Against Air Pollution in Urban China
      by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2015-06-29 01:09:00
    2. A New Book on the Risks Caused by Climate Change
      by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2015-08-30 02:26:00

    Citations

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

    1. Weizeng Sun & Siqi Zheng & Yuming Fu, 2016. "Local Public Service Provision and Spatial Inequality in Chinese Cities," ERSA conference papers ersa16p799, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Zhang, Xin, 2017. "Smog in Our Brains: Gender Differences in the Impact of Exposure to Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 10628, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. repec:spr:envpol:v:20:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10018-017-0196-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. ITO Koichiro & ZHANG Shuang, 2016. "Willingness to Pay for Clean Air: Evidence from the air purifier markets in China," Discussion papers 16074, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    5. Siqi Zheng & Matthew E. Kahn, 2017. "A New Era of Pollution Progress in Urban China?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 71-92, Winter.
    6. repec:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0653-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Koichiro Ito & Shuang Zhang, 2016. "Willingness to Pay for Clean Air: Evidence from Air Purifier Markets in China," NBER Working Papers 22367, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. repec:eee:ecolec:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:77-91 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:wdevel:v:105:y:2018:i:c:p:83-94 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Zhang, Xin, 2017. "Smog in our brains: Gender differences in the impact of exposure to air pollution on cognitive performance in China," IFPRI discussion papers 1619, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand

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