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Immediate effect of air pollution on labor mobility: empirical evidence from online résumé data

Xiangnan Feng (), Shuang Ma (), Lingling Wen () and Yan Zhao ()
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Xiangnan Feng: Fudan University
Shuang Ma: Guangzhou University
Lingling Wen: Xiamen University
Yan Zhao: Southwest Jiaotong University

The Annals of Regional Science, 2021, vol. 67, issue 2, No 9, 483-512

Abstract: Abstract Using résumé data from a large Chinese online job board, we explore how daily fluctuations in air pollution affect workers’ mobility intentions in China. Users can update their résumés daily to attract employers’ attention, reflecting their intentions to relocate from the city of residence to the desired destination city for work. We find that daily differences in the air quality index (AQI) between the city of residence and destination city significantly affect workers’ mobility intentions. A one-unit decrease in the daily relative AQI (destination AQI—residence AQI) leads to a 0.018% increase in the number of workers willing to relocate on that day, indicating that air pollution has a “push–pull” effect on labor mobility intentions. This effect is stronger when air pollution is more severe locally than in the destination city and for workers aged 25–40, with higher educational levels, and from more developed cities. These results suggest that workers may be influenced by temporary air pollution conditions when deciding whether to relocate for work; this influence is potentially explained by the psychological mechanisms of salience and projection bias.

JEL-codes: D91 J61 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s00168-021-01055-0

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