Transboundary Vegetation Fire Smoke and Expressed Sentiment: Evidence from Twitter

75 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2022 Last revised: 6 Feb 2024

See all articles by Rui Du

Rui Du

Department of Economics, Oklahoma State University

Ajkel Mino

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jianghao Wang

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) - Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR)

Siqi Zheng

Samuel Talk Lee Professor of Urban and Real Estate Sustainability, Faculty Director of MIT Center for Real Estate

Date Written: October 16, 2023

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of transboundary vegetation fire smoke on the real-time sentiment of Twitter users in Southeast Asia, including countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. We leverage the exogenous variation in wind directions for identification. We find that an increase in upwind fires by one standard deviation reduces the sentiment score by 0.5 percent of a standard deviation (after netting out the impact of unobserved local socioeconomic factors). During peak fire seasons, our estimate translates into sentiment damages comparable to the average Sunday-to-Monday sentiment drop. The adverse sentiment impact exhibits significant variation across countries and intensifies with factors such as the number of upwind fires, income levels, proximity to fires, and limited adaptability on weekdays. We show that cross-boundary air pollution is the primary channel, with smoke from neighboring countries exerting a greater impact on sentiment than domestically produced smoke. These findings underscore the psychosocial costs and geopolitical tensions associated with cross-border air pollution spillovers.

Keywords: Vegetation fire, cross-border air pollution, real-time sentiment, Twitter, wind, Southeast Asia

JEL Classification: Q53, Q54, I12, N55

Suggested Citation

Du, Rui and Mino, Ajkel and Wang, Jianghao and Zheng, Siqi, Transboundary Vegetation Fire Smoke and Expressed Sentiment: Evidence from Twitter (October 16, 2023). MIT Center for Real Estate Research Paper No. 22-01, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2024, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4066034 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4066034

Rui Du

Department of Economics, Oklahoma State University ( email )

347 Business Building
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK OK 74078-0555
United States

Ajkel Mino

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jianghao Wang

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) - Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR) ( email )

Beijing
China

Siqi Zheng (Contact Author)

Samuel Talk Lee Professor of Urban and Real Estate Sustainability, Faculty Director of MIT Center for Real Estate ( email )

Building 9-323
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://siqizheng.mit.edu/

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