The impact of COVID-19 on economy, air pollution and income: evidence from China

Chenggang Li, Ziling Chen*, Xiaodong Wang, Yikang Wan, Zhen Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The global pandemic caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 has posed significant risks to our health. Preventive measures such as closed management have greatly affected the economies, environments and societies of various countries. Economy, air pollution and income are three important interconnected aspects of sustainable development. However, current research lacks systematic quantitative analysis of their relationships. To fill the gap, this study adopts monthly data from January 2016 to April 2022 and constructs both a Simultaneous Equation Model (SEM) and a Time Varying Parameter Stochastic Volatility Vector Autoregressive (TVP-SV-VAR) model to empirically analyze the impact of COVID-19 on China's economy, air pollution and income. This study finds that the COVID-19 has a negative impact on China’s economy and income, and a positive impact on air pollution, and the impact of the COVID-19 is systematic. In addition, there is an inverted-U shaped relationship between air pollution and economics, and a positive correlation between economic and income. The impact of COVID-19 on the economy, air pollution and income show a process of sharp fluctuations to gradual stabilization that gradually stabilized over time. This process is time-varying in the short-term, medium-term and long-term. The impacts are persistent at three different time points (before, during and after the outbreak of COVID-19), but the negative impact on the economy and income is persistent, while the positive impact on air pollution is limited. This study provides a more systematic and dynamic understanding of the COVID-19 preventive and mitigation measures in China and even the world, which helps to provide insights into the formulation of more comprehensive planning strategies in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment
Early online date4 May 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 4 May 2023


  • Air pollution
  • COVID-19
  • Economy
  • Impact
  • Income
  • Inverted-U shaped relationship

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