Air Pollution as Comparative Disadvantage

Prof. Peng ZHANG
Associate Professor
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen

Date: 1 December 2023 (Friday)
Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Venue: E22-G015
Host: Prof. Leona Shao Zhi LI, Assistant Professor in Business Economics
Online registration:


This paper is the first to examine the impact of air pollution on exporters’ comparative advantage in the global market and their ensuing strategic responses. Using comprehensive firm-product export data from China spanning 2000 to 2007 and exploiting exogenous variation in air pollution induced by thermal inversion for identification, we unveil a detrimental effect of increased air pollution on exports through its adverse impact on labor productivity. The effects are particularly pronounced for labor-intensive products, prompting firms to restructure their product scope away from labor-intensive varieties. Moreover, larger firms exhibit greater resilience to these adverse effects.


Dr. Peng Zhang is a tenured associate professor of economics in the School of Management and Economics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, the associate editors of Journal of Development Economics and China Economic Review. His research areas are environmental economics, development economics, labor economics, and health economics. His publications appear in The Economic Journal, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Development Economics (6), and Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (3). He obtained a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016, and worked as an assistant professor of economics at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University during 2016-2020.  

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