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Air pollution and brain drain: Evidence from college graduates in China

Wangyang Lai, Hong Song, Chang Wang and Huanhuan Wang

China Economic Review, 2021, vol. 68, issue C

Abstract: This paper provides one of the few evidence about migration responses among talents to air pollution. Specifically, we investigate the impact of PM2.5 concentration on job location decisions of Chinese college graduates at the beginning of their professional careers. The results indicate that a 10-unit increase in PM2.5 concentration raises college graduates' probability to leave their current city by 10% point. We also find larger impacts on graduates from elite colleges and less polluted hometowns. Our empirical results are consistent with a simple model in which the location choice of college graduates depends on their wage payment and air pollution. Our findings supplement existent literature in documenting important ways in which air pollution may associate with the loss of highly-educated talents.

Keywords: Brain drain; Air pollution; Migration; Human capital; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I25 J24 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2021.101624

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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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