Is China's Pollution the Culprit for the Choking of South Korea? Evidence from the Asian Dust

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Date and Time: 
Thursday, November 5, 2015
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

We assess international air pollution spillovers by studying the meteorological phenomenon known as Asian dust, yellow dust clouds that pass over China and are carried eastward to South Korea by strong, stable westerly winds. Using data for 2000 to 2011, we link the districtspecific monthly incidence of Asian dust across South Korea and temporal variations in China’s pollution to cause-specific mortality in 232 South Korean districts. We find that the adverse health impacts of Asian dust in South Korea are significantly amplified by China’s pollution, particularly in terms of deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. With an extra day of Asian dust, a one standard deviation increase in China’s pollution leads to around 30 more respiratory and cardiovascular deaths in a month in South Korea. We also employ strong westerly winds as a secondary carrier of China’s pollution.