Novel Measures of Air Pollution Social Costs in China: Big Data Analysis

China has experienced rapid economic growth in the last three decades, accompanied by significant local environmental degradation such as escalating air pollution. In contrast to previous studies on the direct health, cognition, and productivity effects, this project draws attention to the broader social costs of air pollution in Chinese cities by examining the effects of air pollution on social activities, the social interactions embodied in such activities, and urbanites’ subjective well-being. China’s serious air pollution, growing urban population, and changing socio-economic and spatial structure provide a unique “lab” to study these topics. This project will take advantage of emerging location-based big data in China to empirically estimate the causal effects of air pollution and its associated social costs, and discuss implications for socially responsible policies aimed at mitigating air pollution and promoting social activities and interactions in cities.