Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Spatial effects of environmental pollution on healthcare services: Evidence from China

Version 1 : Received: 12 January 2021 / Approved: 13 January 2021 / Online: 13 January 2021 (12:48:11 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Zhang, N.; Mao, Y. Spatial Effects of Environmental Pollution on Healthcare Services: Evidence from China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 1784. Zhang, N.; Mao, Y. Spatial Effects of Environmental Pollution on Healthcare Services: Evidence from China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 1784.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 1784
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18041784

Abstract

With the rapid development of urbanization and industrialization in China, environmental issues have become a knotty problem, especially issues related to air, water, and solid-waste pollution. These pollutants pose threats to the health of the population and to that of communities and have a vicious influence on the healthcare system. Additionally, pollution also exhibits spill-over effects, which means that pollution in the local region could affect the healthcare services in a neighbouring region. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the relationship between pollution and healthcare. A spatial autocorrelation analysis was conducted and spatial panel econometric models were constructed to explore the characteristics of pollution and healthcare services in China and the relationship between them using data on all 31 provinces over twelve consecutive years (2006-2017). The results showed that the utilization of healthcare services and environmental pollution were not randomly distributed; unsurprisingly, air pollution and solid-waste pollution were mainly found in parts of northern China, while water pollution was highest in southern and coastal China. In addition, environmental pollution exhibited spill-over effects on healthcare services. For example, a 1% increase in solid waste in one specific geographical unit was estimated to increase the inpatient visits per capita in adjacent counties by 0.559%. Specifically, pollution showed different degrees of influence on healthcare services, which means that the impact of environmental pollution on the number of outpatient visits is greater than on the number of inpatient visits. Our results provide the government with evidence for effectively formulating and promulgating policies, especially policies aimed at tackling spill-over effects among different regions.

Subject Areas

Spatial effects; environmental pollution; healthcare services

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