A spatial panel data analysis of economic growth, urbanization, and NOx emissions in China

Xiangyu Ge, Zhimin Zhou, Yanli Zhou, Xinyue Ye, Songlin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Is nitrogen oxides emissions spatially correlated in a Chinese context? What is the relationship between nitrogen oxides emission levels and fast-growing economy/urbanization? More importantly, what environmental preservation and economic developing policies should China’s central and local governments take to mitigate the overall nitrogen oxides emissions and prevent severe air pollution at the provincial level in specific locations and their neighboring areas? The present study aims to tackle these issues. This is the first research that simultaneously studies the nexus between nitrogen oxides emissions and economic development/urbanization, with the application of a spatial panel data technique. Our empirical findings suggest that spatial dependence of nitrogen oxides emissions distribution exists at the provincial level. Through the investigation of the existence of an environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) embedded within the Stochastic Impacts by Regression on Population, Affluence, and Technology (STIRPAT) framework, we conclude something interesting: an inverse N-shaped EKC describes both the income-nitrogen oxides nexus and the urbanization-nitrogen oxides nexus. Some well-directed policy advice is provided to reduce nitrogen oxides in the future. Moreover, these results contribute to the literature on development and pollution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number725
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 11 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • EKC
  • Nitrogen oxides emissions
  • Spatial effects
  • Sustainable development
  • Urbanization


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