Environmental Economics Seminar
Emotions in Environmental News and Air Pollution in China
Assistant professor at CERDI
As a major and ever growing source of information in China, the Internet plays an important role in diffusing environmental news and shaping people’s perceptions and emotions regarding air pollution. Does the Chinese government make use of emotional language in environmental news as an informal form of environmental regulation? In this paper, we combine the GDELT media emotion database with daily air pollution monitoring data to investigate the causal relationship between the emotional tone of environmental news and
air pollution levels in China. Specifically, we implement a fuzzy regression discontinuity design by exploiting the Chinese government’s declaration of war on air pollution in 2018.
We find that a decrease in the emotional tone (i.e., emotions become more negative and less positive) in online news can reduce air pollution at both the city and county levels. We attribute this robust effect to the context of China’s war on air pollution in which the government makes use of emotional language in environmental news as an informal regulator of pollution.
Keywords: Air pollution, News emotion, Mass media, The Internet, Government, China.
JEL Classification: D83, D9, L82, O53, Q53, Q58.
Co-authors : Damien Cubizol, Elda Nasho Ah-Pine et Huanxiu Guo
Montpellier SupAgro / INRA - Bat. 26 -Salle Océanie
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