COVID-19 Prevention and Air Pollution in the Absence of a Lockdown
Hung-Hao Chang (),
Chad Meyerhoefer and
No 27604, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc
Recent studies demonstrate that air quality improved during the coronavirus pandemic due to the imposition of social lockdowns. We investigate the impact of COVID-19 on air pollution in the two largest cities in Taiwan, which were not subject to economic or mobility restrictions. Using a generalized difference-in-differences approach and real-time data on air quality and transportation, we estimate that levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter increased 5 - 12 percent relative to 2017 - 2019. We demonstrate that this counterintuitive finding is likely due to a shift in preferences for mode of transport away from public transportation and towards personal automobiles. Similar COVID-19 prevention behaviors in regions or countries emerging from lockdowns could likewise result in an increase in air pollution.
JEL-codes: I12 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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