The economic and social disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are immense. Unexpectedly, a positive outcome of the stringent Covid restrictions has come in the form of air pollution reduction. Pollution reduction, however, has not happened everywhere at equal rates. Why are lockdown measures not producing this positive externality in all countries? Using satellite-based Aerosol Optical Depth data and panel analysis conducted at the country-day level, we find that the countries that have adopted stringent COVID-19 containment policies have experienced better air quality. Nonetheless, this relationship depends on the cultural orientation of a society. Our estimates indicate that the effect of policy stringency is lower in societies imbued with a collectivistic culture. The findings highlight the role of cultural differences in the successful implementation of policies and the realization of their intended outcomes. It implies that pollution mitigation policies are less likely to yield emission reduction in collectivist societies.
|Number of pages||11|
|Early online date||17 May 2022|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Aug 2022|
- Government policy