Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2022, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (1): 156-176.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1929-6

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Air pollution effects of industrial transformation in the Yangtze River Delta from the perspective of spatial spillover

CHEN Yufan1,2(), XU Yong1,2, WANG Fuyuan1()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2021-07-16 Accepted:2021-10-20 Online:2022-01-25 Published:2022-03-25
  • Contact: WANG Fuyuan;
  • About author:Chen Yufan (1994-), PhD Candidate, specialized in environmental economy and sustainable development. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    The Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA23020101);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41901181)


The Yangtze River Delta (YRD) is a region in China with a serious contradiction between economic growth and environmental pollution. Exploring the spatiotemporal effects and influencing factors of air pollution in the region is highly important for formulating policies to promote the high-quality development of urban industries. This study uses the spatial Durbin model (SDM) to analyze the local direct and spatial spillover effects of industrial transformation on air pollution and quantifies the contribution of each factor. From 2008 to 2018, there was a significant spatial agglomeration of industrial sulfur dioxide emissions (ISDE) in the YRD, and every 1% increase in ISDE led to a synchronous increase of 0.603% in the ISDE in adjacent cities. The industrial scale index (ISCI) and industrial structure index (ISTI), as the core factors of industrial transformation, significantly affect the emissions of sulfur dioxide in the YRD, and the elastic coefficients are 0.677 and -0.368, respectively. The order of the direct effect of the explanatory variables on local ISDE is ISCI>ISTI>foreign direct investment (FDI)>enterprise technological innovation (ETI)>environmental regulation (ER)> per capita GDP (PGDP). Similarly, the order of the spatial spillover effect of all variables on ISDE in adjacent cities is ISCI>PGDP>FDI>ETI>ISTI>ER, and the coefficients of the ISCI and ISTI are 1.531 and 0.113, respectively. This study contributes to the existing research that verifies the environmental Kuznets curve in the YRD, denies the pollution heaven hypothesis, indicates the Porter hypothesis, and provides empirical evidence for the formation mechanism of regional environmental pollution from a spatial spillover perspective.

Key words: industrial agglomeration, industrial structure adjustment, industrial transformation, air pollution, spatial spillover effect, spatial Durbin model