Does Air Pollution Affect Food Consumption?
25 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 10, 2017
This paper uses data from a Chinese online grocery store to examine the effect of air pollution on food sales. We find that 100 increase in Air Quality Index (AQI) increases the sales of the grocery store by 5%. This effect is concave, implying that when AQI is low, an increase in AQI has a relatively larger impact on food sales. With regard to the sources of sales increase, our result suggests that consumers tend to upgrade their purchase to more expensive food items in polluted days. We conjecture that the salience of health concerns (referred to as the health-saliency mechanism) leads consumers to buy more healthy and expensive food. Further analysis of sales for organic food confirms our conjecture.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation