Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 34, pp 34236–34246 | Cite as

An event study analysis of price adjustment of refined oil and air quality in China

  • Donglan Zha
  • Ting Zhao
  • Anil Savio Kavuri
  • Fei Wu
  • Qunwei WangEmail author
Research Article


Since marketization of the refined oil price, the Chinese government has used refined oil price adjustments to control air pollution. Using an event study analysis, we examine whether these price adjustments have impacted air quality. We test the abnormal returns of 12 price adjustments between 2014 and 2015 in 51 major cities of China. The results show that the impact on air quality of refined oil price decreases is larger than the impact of oil price increases. Although results indicate air quality has deteriorated, the impact is insignificant for most of the cities. Consequently, we conclude that price suspension of refined oil has had a negligible impact on air quality. This policy is not a viable method to improve the air quality in the short run.


Oil prices Air quality Rate of return Event study 



We are grateful for the comments from David I. Stern.

Funding information

Financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 71673134, 71573186, and 71503039), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (nos. NE2018105, NE2017005, and NW2018002), and Philosophy and Social Science Research in Colleges and Universities in Jiangsu Province (no. 2016ZDIXM040).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Economics and ManagementNanjing University of Aeronautics and AstronauticsNanjingChina
  2. 2.Research Center for Energy Soft ScienceNanjing University of Aeronautics and AstronauticsNanjingChina
  3. 3.Crawford School of Public PolicyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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