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Urbanization, trade openness, and air pollution: a provincial level analysis of China


  • Wei Zheng

    (School of Economics and Development, Wuhan University, China; School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

  • Patrick Paul Walsh

    (School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)


As the largest developing country in the world, with fast-paced urbanization development, China has achieved rapid economic growth since the “Reform and opening-up” policy implemented in 1978. This growth, however, has resulted in persistent and severe environmental problems. This paper evaluates urbanization, trade openness, energy consumption and PM2.5 in the Chinese economy using Fixed effect (FE), fixed effect instrumental (FE-IV), and system generalized method of moments (GMM-sys) estimation methods from 29 provinces over the period 2001–2012. Results demonstrated that PM2.5 is a continuous process that the previous period has positive effect on the current level of PM2.5; Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis was not supported by analyzing the relationship between economic growth and PM2.5 in China; temperature is not a crucial influencing factor in affecting the amount of PM2.5; urbanization is beneficial to the decrease of PM2.5. PM2.5 from neighboring regions is an important factor increasing the local PM2.5, and the influencing factors of international trade, heavy industry and private cars are contributors to PM2.5 level as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Wei Zheng & Patrick Paul Walsh, 2018. "Urbanization, trade openness, and air pollution: a provincial level analysis of China," Working Papers 201818, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201818

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    PM2.5; Energy consumption; Urbanization; Average temperature level;

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