Past Events

Unmasking Air Pollution in Asia: Some Insights into Remedies

About the Talk

Many developing countries worldwide face the dual change of sustaining their rapid pace of development while ensuring that this development occurs sustainably. Industrialisation, together with the surging populations, has resulted in severe environmental degradation, the key aspect being air pollution. Air pollutants like SO2, NOx, lead, ozone, and PM have primarily caused the most significant and obvious damage to air quality in cities worldwide. It becomes imperative as such for governments and industries to have a useful and accurate method to estimate the economic cost of air pollution for policymaking, regulation, surveillance, and innovation. With the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an increasing surge in air pollution in many cities. High air pollution causes damage to health, losses in productivity, physical damage to buildings and infrastructure, constraints to recreation and leisure, and more.

This talk focuses on such high cost of air pollution, why it matters and what we can do about it. We take stock of studies on air pollution, estimates on costs, the many types of air pollution, including transboundary haze and cultural practices, and how this requires different remedies to mitigate or resolve them. The talk will also draw from my own works related to air pollution.

Details: 1 June 2023, Thursday, 5.00pm – 6.30pm
Moderator: Prof Dato’ Zulfigar Yasin


About the Speaker

Euston Quah is Albert Winsemius chair professor of economics and director of the Economic Growth Centre at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is also editor of the Singapore Economic Review and president of the Economic Society of Singapore. Professor Quah has published widely in the fields of cost-benefit analysis, environmental economics, and law and economics. Contributing to more than a hundred publications, inclusive of academic journals and lead opinion pieces in media, Some of his works have been selected for inclusion by the International Library of Critical Writings in Economics in the UK as well as received favourable reviews in such leading journals as Economic Journal, Journal of Economic Literature, and the Journal of Labour Economics. His work on air pollution has also been cited by The Lancet.

His textbook with E.J Mishan, now in its 6th edition (Routledge, UK, 2020), is regarded as a classic text in this subject and used by many universities and governments. It was listed for reference by the US Office of Management and Budget, and by the US Department of Transportation. His Asian edition of the textbook, Principles of Economics(3rd edition, Cengage 2021)with Gregory Mankiw continues to be a best seller.

Professor Quah was listed in Google Scholar Profiler since 2020 as among the top ten most highly cited university economists in cost-benefit analysis in the world. Formerly vice dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore and headed the economics departments at both Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore, Professor Quah has been and continues to be advisor to many government ministries in Singapore. Professor Quah chaired the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at NTU. He is a member of the Social Sciences Research Council of Singapore, board member of the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore, and board member of the Market Surveillance and Compliance Committee of Singapore’s Energy Market Company.

He had consulted for Pricewaterhouse, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Canadian International Development Agency, Gentings International, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, among others. He also served as a Review Panel Member for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the project hosted by the Overseas Development Institute of London, UK, a Technical Reviewer for the National Research Foundation (Singapore), Humanities and Social Sciences Research Council (Canada ), and the Australian Research Council.

In addition to being a former president of the Asian Law and Economics Association, and elected member of the prestigious European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Professor Quah had been an invited or plenary keynote speaker for functions hosted by Stanford University, Princeton University, the USA Inter-Pacific Bar Association, US Society of Benefit-Cost Analysis, World Wide Fund for Nature, UNESCAP, Earth Institute of Columbia University (Asian Meetings), Nagoya University, Kobe University, Korea University, Zhejiang University, ADB and ADBI. Often interviewed and cited by CNA, Straits Times, Business Times, BBC, and foreign presses in France, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, and Denmark, Professor Quah is one of the most highly cited and influential academic economists in Singapore. In 2020, Professor Quah was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) on Singapore’s National Day.