Mediation effects of online public attention on the relationship between air pollution and precautionary behavior

Ge XU, Xiangnan FENG, Yiwei LI, Jianmin JIA

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

This study investigates the mediation effects of online public attention on the relationship between air pollution and precautionary behavior based on a merged real-world data set that includes daily air quality, Internet search and media indices, social media discussions, and product purchases. Using a Bayesian structural equation modeling approach, we show that online public attention to air pollution increases when air pollution increases, and such attention is captured by more media reports, social media discussions, and Internet searches. A comprehensive relationship involving direct and indirect effects between air pollution and precautionary behavior is established. Air pollution has a positive effect on proactive defensive behaviors, reflected in increased purchases of preventive products, and this effect is partially mediated by online media coverage and the public's Internet searches. Air pollution also motivates passive defensive behaviors, reflected in decreased purchases of outdoor sports products, and this effect is partially mediated by social media coverage. These results suggest that governments could improve the quality of policy making by considering the different roles of various forms of online public attention in the public's risk perceptions of and reactions to air pollution.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Management Science and Engineering
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Dr. Xu and Dr. Feng contributed equally to this work. Dr. Xu's work was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71704052, 72088101, 72074072, and 71991465), the Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province, China (2018JJ3263), and the Research Foundation of Education Bureau of Hunan Province, China (18B334). Dr. Feng's work was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71802166) and the Humanities and Social Science Foundation of the Ministry of Education of China (20YJC630055). Dr. Li's work was partially supported by the LamWoo Research Fund (LWI20005), Faculty Research Grant (DB20A3 and DB21A7), and Direct Grant (DR21B3). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

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