Effects of the COVID-19 on Air Quality: Human Mobility, Spillover Effects, and City Connections

Posted: 11 May 2020

See all articles by Gaowen Kong

Gaowen Kong

Jinan University

Shasha Liu

School of Management, Jinan University

Dongmin Kong

Department of Finance, Huazhong University of Science and Technology; School of Finance, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law

Date Written: April 25, 2020

Abstract

We examine the causal effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on air quality in the context of China. Using the lockdowns in different cities as exogenous shocks, our difference-in-differences (DID) estimations show that lockdown policies significantly reduced air pollution by 12% on average. Based on the first lockdown city, Wuhan, we present three underlying mechanisms driving our findings: information leakage about the lockdown, spillover effects, and a city’s level of connection with Wuhan. Our findings are more pronounced in cities whose population was more willing to self-isolate or more susceptible to anxiety, or whose government faces less pressure to stimulate economic growth. Overall, this study contributes to the literature by evaluating the unintended consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak for air quality, and provides timely policy implications for policymakers.

Keywords: COVID-19, air quality, human mobility, spillover, connections.

JEL Classification: Q53; Q56; F64; O13.

Suggested Citation

Kong, Gaowen and Liu, Shasha and Kong, Dongmin, Effects of the COVID-19 on Air Quality: Human Mobility, Spillover Effects, and City Connections (April 25, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3596922

Gaowen Kong

Jinan University ( email )

Huang Pu Da Dao Xi 601, Tian He District
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510632
China

Shasha Liu

School of Management, Jinan University ( email )

No. 601, West Huangpu Road
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510632
China

Dongmin Kong (Contact Author)

Department of Finance, Huazhong University of Science and Technology ( email )

Wuhan, Hubei 430074
China

School of Finance, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law ( email )

Wuhan, Hubei 430073
China

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