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Escaping from pollution: the effect of air quality on inter-city population mobility in China

Cui, Can, Wang, Zhen, He, Pan ORCID:, Yuan, Shanfeng, Niu, Beibei, Kang, Ping and Kang, Chaogui 2019. Escaping from pollution: the effect of air quality on inter-city population mobility in China. Environmental Research Letters 14 (12) , 124025. 10.1088/1748-9326/ab5039

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China faces severe air pollution issues due to the rapid growth of the economy, causing concerns for human physical and mental health as well as behavioral changes. Such adverse impacts can be mediated by individual avoidance behaviors such as traveling from polluted cities to cleaner ones. This study utilizes smartphone-based location data and instrumental variable regression to try and find out how air quality affects population mobility. Our results confirm that air quality does affect the population outflows of cities. An increase of 100 points in the air quality index will cause a 49.60% increase in population outflow, and a rise of 1 μg m−3 in PM2.5 may cause a 0.47% rise in population outflow. Air pollution incidents can drive people to leave their cities 3 days or a week later by railway or road. The effect is heterogeneous among workdays, weekends and holidays. Our results imply that air quality management can be critical for urban tourism and environmental competitiveness.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: IOP Publishing
ISSN: 1748-9326
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 22 October 2019
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 20:25

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