Research / BFI Working PaperFeb 15, 2021

China’s War on Pollution: Evidence from the First Five Years

Michael Greenstone, Guojun He, Shanjun Li, Eric Zou

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.

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