The Price of Breathing


The Price of Breathing research project is part of the excellence strategy, a funding programme of the German Federal Government and the Länder.

In an interdisciplinary approach, the project studies the main barriers to governmental regulation and the adoption of self-regulatory strategies against air pollution in unequal societies. Air pollution poses a major health risk in urban centers, especially in the developing world. The project focuses on India and the Mongolian Capital Ulaanbaatar as examples for economic growth and rapid urbanization, social and wealth inequality, weak governmental institutions, and a severe air pollution crisis.

We explore two areas of research. First, we investigate how the high social inequality in the Indian society interacts with preferences for redistributive policies to reduce air pollution. If the better-off are the only ones able to finance abatement policies, are they more willing to do so if they are made aware of their high socio-economic standing?

And how much harm may too much information about pollution do to those that cannot afford to protect themselves from the adverse health effects? With a large-scale online survey experiment, we thereby aim to shed light on societal preferences for redistribution and environmental protection.

Second, we look to implement our approach to a case study of the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar. Here, social inequality and pollution crisis are even more closely linked. Due to a lack of infrastructure and a harsh climate, the poor contribute a disproportionately high share to pollution levels. This may cause social tensions that could further inhibit the support for redistributive policies.

Both project components are designed to explore through future funding applications the potential for extensions into other highly relevant contexts with varying social, cultural, and normative backgrounds.


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Letzte Änderung: 15.11.2021
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