The Effect of Air Pollution on Mortality in China: Evidence from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Published on: 2015-01-15

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The Effect of Air Pollution on Mortality in China: Evidence from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games


HKUST IEMS Working Paper No. 2015-03 (January 2015)

Guojun HE , Maoyong FAN , Maigeng ZHOU


By exploiting exogenous variation in air quality during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, we estimate the effect of air pollution on mortality in China. We find that a 10-μg/m^3 (roughly 10%) decrease in PM_10 concentrations reduces monthly standardized all-cause mortality by 6.63%. The mortality reduction during the Olympics is mainly driven by fewer cardio-cerebrovascular and respiratory deaths. Extrapolating our results to all urban areas in China, we estimate that the economic benefits from averted pre-mature deaths would range from 380 billion to 6 trillion Yuan annually if PM_10 concentrations were reduced to the WHO guideline level of 20 μg/m^3.


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