Working Papers

Do Chinese Drivers Respond to Gasoline Price Changes? (Job Market Paper)

Vehicle emissions contribute to air pollution. One tool that policymakers have to regulate traffic and reduce emissions is the driving cost. This paper uses data from 577 sensors on city expressways in Shanghai from January 2011 to March 2013 to estimate the short-run causal impact of unanticipated government gasoline price adjustments on traffic flow. Results show that traffic flow does respond to gasoline price changes. This impact dissipates in three days, with an estimated average elasticity of traffic flow to the price of gasoline of -0.26. Given baseline traffic, this estimate implies that a one percent increase in gasoline price would reduce daily average traffic flow by 104 vehicles per sensor. The impact varies with types of price changes and is greater for price increases than price decreases.


Adapting Travel Mode to Outdoor Air Pollution: Evidence from China (Joint with He, Pan)

Air pollution is becoming a severe health-damaging issue in China. Individuals take actions to reduce their exposure to outdoor air pollution. Using time-series data of daily traffic flow and metro ridership, this paper studies how air quality index (AQI), a score to measure air pollution and health effect, affects individuals’ choices of travel modes to avoid pollution exposure in Shanghai, China. To generate a plausibly exogenous variation in air pollution, we use wind direction blowing to the west as an instrumental variable to the air quality index. Due to the geographical location of Shanghai, wind blowing to the west of the city increases air pollution and the AQI. Daily traffic flow increases by 0.02 percent, an average increase of 4,760 vehicles per day, with one point increase in the daily AQI. Metro ridership increases by 0.04 percent, an average increase of 2,920 passengers per day, with the AQI.


The Price of Gold: The Impact of Gold Mining on Infant Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa

Literature has been discussing the health-wealth tradeoffs of gold mining in developing countries. This paper studies the health impact of water pollution from gold mining on infant mortality using micro-data of 114 mines in 35 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using difference-in-difference analysis, I find infant mortality increases by 0.01 percent for residents living close to gold mining areas downstream. The result is robust controlling air pollution and dissipates with distance. Contrarily, residents living close to gold mining areas but upstream have a decrease in infant mortality.


Work In Progress

More Bikes More Traffic Accidents? A Case Study of Citi Bike’s Entry to New York City
Stricter Regulation, Better Water Quality for Human Health? Impacts of China New Standards of Drinking Water Quality on Acute Sickness