Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

William Lincoln

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© 2017 Kanika Singh


For the average Chinese citizen, waking up under a sky blanketed with smog is no longer a surprise: since the rise of industrial capitalism, changes in trade policy, consumer preferences and the overall magnitude of industry have resulted in crippling levels of ambient air pollution. Though growth in the manufacturing realm was prevalent in the post-Mao Industrial Revolution era, China’s accession to the World Trade Organization resulted in the proliferation of trade on a grand scale, and due to low manufacturing and production costs, resulted in China assuming its seat in the global market. Unfortunately, this economic success was accompanied by an unhealthy increase in ambient air pollution levels, and has since posed a significant threat to public welfare. This study surveys the impact of different aspects of trade volumes in the 31 provinces of China on the state of ambient air pollution. Findings include that as a result of increased trade due to China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, the volume of sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from provincial industries is positively correlated with the exports of products manufactured in industrial operating units within China. This study also finds a positive relationship between the imports of products manufactured outside of China, as there is an increase in pollution from road dust due to traveling vehicles with these imported products. Though exports and imports of goods produced in foreign nations contribute significantly to the emissions patterns in Chinese provinces, an analysis of the data indicates that there is a stronger correlation between domestically produced units that are traded, as opposed to those units that are produced outside of the country.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.