Lecture Kleinman Center Event

Blue Skies over Beijing: Economic Growth and the Environment in China


Matthew Kahn
Professor of Economics and Spatial Sciences, University of Southern California


Kleinman Center for Energy Policy Forum
220 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Event Summary

Over the last 30 years, even as China’s economy has grown by leaps and bounds, the environmental quality of its urban centers has precipitously declined due to heavy industrial output and coal consumption. The country is currently the world’s largest greenhouse-gas emitter and several of the most polluted cities in the world are in China, yet millions of people continue moving to its cities seeking opportunities.

Professor Kahn provides an overview of his upcoming book “Blue Skies over Beijing,” co-authored with Siqi Zheng (Princeton University Press). In this book, the authors investigate the ways that China’s urban development impacts local and global environmental challenges. Using the historical evolution of American cities as a comparison, the authors predict that as China’s economy moves away from heavy manufacturing toward cleaner sectors, many of China’s cities should experience environmental progress in upcoming decades.


Matthew Kahn

Provost Professor of Economics and Spatial Sciences, USC
Matthew Kahn is the Provost Professor of Economics and Spatial Sciences at the University of Southern California. In 2015-2016 he was a visiting scholar at the Kleinman Center.