Run away? Air pollution and emigration interests in China
- 1.8k Downloads
This paper investigates the impact of air pollution on people’s interest in emigration. Using an online search index on “emigration” which is positively correlated with its search volume, we develop a city-by-day measurement of people’s emigration sentiment. We find that searches on “emigration” will grow by approximately 2.3–4.8% the next day if today’s air quality index (AQI) is increased by 100 points. In addition, such an effect is more pronounced when the AQI level is above 200, a sign of “heavily polluted” and “severely polluted” days. We also find that such effect differs by destination countries and by metropolitan areas.
KeywordsEmigration Air pollution China Online searches
JEL ClassificationQ53 Q56 R23
We are grateful to Sumit Agarwal, Yongheng Deng, Shuaizhang Feng, Shihe Fu, Xiaobo Zhang, Klaus F. Zimmermann (the Editor), two anonymous reviewers, and seminar participants at the National University of Singapore for their valuable comments and suggestions. Thanks to Qingyue Open Environmental Data Center (https://data.epmap.org) for support on Environmental data processing. Qin acknowledges financial support from the Academic Research Fund - Tier 1 (WBS: R-297-000-129-133). Zhu acknowledges financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project 71603103). All remaining errors are ours.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This study was funded by Ministry of Education, Singapore (grant number R-297-000-129-133) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 71603103).
- Brandt L, Rawski TG (2008) China’s great economic transformation. Cambridge university pressGoogle Scholar
- Chen Y, Jin GZ, Kumar N, Shi G (2012) Gaming in air pollution data? lessons from China. BE J Econ Anal Policy 12(3)Google Scholar
- Docquier F, Rapoport H (2012) Globalization, brain drain, and development. J Econ Lit, 681–730Google Scholar
- Hatton TJ, Williamson JG (2002) What fundamentals drive world migration? Technical report, National Bureau of Economic ResearchGoogle Scholar
- He J, Liu H, Salvo A (2016) Severe air pollution and labor productivity: Evidence from industrial towns in china. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8916Google Scholar
- Hirshleifer D, Shumway T, et al (2003) Good day sunshine: Stock returns and the weather. J Financ, 58(3)Google Scholar
- Mu Q, Zhang J (2014) Air pollution and defensive expenditures: Evidence from particulate-filtering facemasks. Available at SSRN 2518032Google Scholar
- Ortega F, Peri G (2009) The causes and effects of international migrations: Evidence from oecd countries 1980-2005. Technical report, National Bureau of Economic ResearchGoogle Scholar
- Saunders EM (1993) Stock prices and wall street weather. Am Econ Rev, 1337–1345Google Scholar
- Schneider F (2015) Does corruption promote emigration? IZA World of LaborGoogle Scholar
- Zhang X, Zhang X, Chen X (2015) Happiness in the air: How does a dirty sky affect subjective well-being? IZA Discussion Paper No. 9312.Google Scholar