Antonietti, R., Falbo, P., Fontini, F. (2021).

Assessing the relationship between air quality, wealth, and the first wave of COVID-19 diffusion and mortality. In Energy Transition, Climate Change, and COVID-19 (pp. 1-14). Springer, Cham.


This study concerns the relationship between air quality, economic wealth, and COVID-19 diffusion and mortality around the world. Using different data sources, we show that the level of air quality, in terms of particulate (PM 2.5) concentrations, does not significantly contribute to explain the diffusion of COVID-19 and the related mortality rates. On the contrary, GDP per capita significantly correlates with the diffusion of COVID-19 and related mortality, and the result holds in each day of March and April 2020 in which COVID-19 infections and deaths are counted. However, when we cluster countries by level of wealth, trade openness, sectoral structure, CO2 emissions, and climate conditions, we find that higher concentrations of PM 2.5 correspond to more infections and deaths, but only in high-income countries.