China’s War on Pollution: Evidence from the First Five Years
The decade from 2010 to 2019 marked a significant turning point in China’s history of environmental regulation and pollution. This article describes the recent trends in air and water quality, with a focus on the five years since China declared a “war on pollution” in 2014. It summarizes the emerging literature that has taken advantage of accompanying improvements in data availability and accuracy to document sharp improvements in environmental quality, especially local air pollution, and understand their social, economic, and health consequences.
The authors thank Claire Fan, Wenzheng Li, Yuhang Pan, and Luming Tan for excellent research assistance, Yazhen Gong for generous data sharing, and Cynthia Lin Lawell for comments. Financial support from the Center for Industrial Development and Environmental Governance (CIDEG) of Tsinghua University is greatly appreciated. The authors have no relevant and material financial relationships to disclose. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.