Willingness to pay for staying away from haze : Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment in Xi'an

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Feng Lan
  • Jingzeng Lv
  • Jie Chen
  • Zhuohui Zhao
  • David Y.H. Pui

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Article number110301
Journal / PublicationJournal of Environmental Management
Online published27 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2020


Previous studies of the residents' willingness to pay (WTP) for air quality improvement are likely suffering various endogeneity biases. Exploiting the unique opportunity of a recent quasi-experiment operation of the world's first SFT (Smog Free Tower) in China's northwestern city Xi'an, this paper reliably calibrates local residents' WTP for less exposure to haze by analyzing the price responses of housings in the neighborhoods of SFT. The hedonic regression is applied in the DID (difference-in-difference) setting, with further assistances of the PSM (propensity score matching) method, quantile regression and placebo test. The regression results consistently suggest that housing price responded positively to the installment of the SFT, and the impact estimates are closely centered around 4%. The study also indicates high-priced housings response much more to the operation of the SFT than cheap-priced housings, suggesting uneven distribution of welfare gains of air quality improvement. A cost-benefit analysis of the SFT project indicates that the economic benefits of this project far outweigh the costs involved. The paper concludes with discussions of policy implications of this paper for environment governance.

Research Area(s)

  • Air pollution, Air quality, Haze, Housing price, PSM-DID, Willingness to pay