Authors: R. A. Nerișanu, Phd. Student, ORCID ІD 0000-0002-4650-9406, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Sibiu, Romania, M. P. Cristescu, Doctor of Sciences (Economic), Prof., ORCID ІD 0000-0003-3638-4379, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Sibiu, Romania, M. Stoyanova, Doctor of Sciences (Economic), Prof., ORCID ІD 0000-0002-5403-2855, University of Economics – Varna, Varna, Bulgaria
Annotation: It may be said that COVID-19 eased the nature from human pollution. Present paper may argue this perception by analyzing the connection between the economic impact before and after the COVID-19 outbreak, measured by national GDP and the level of pollution in the European countries, referring to air and water pollution. A simple linear regression model with two control variables was applied in order to obtain the results (the control variable were the number of COVID-19 cases and the austerity measures applied in the countries, in the specified period, classified by the impact over the labor productivity).
Data was aggregated using the population values for each country and normalized using log normalization method. The paper also engages a multivariable regression, with exogenous variables composed of all NACE REV 2 activities that contribute to national GDP and endogenous variable being the composite pollution index (based on air and water pollution indicators). The control variables applied in the multivariable regression are the same as the ones described below. Results show that DGP dropped with 16.26 % from Q4 of 2019 to Q2 of 2020 and with 5.86 % from the same period of last year till second semester of this year, based on the austerity measures taken in order to stop the spreading SARS-CoV-2, especially the ones considering non trivial activity closure or entire sector closure. Findings include also a percent of 30% of air quality improvement (in terms of particle matter presence) during COVID-19 lockdown in Europe, that had a positive impact even after lockdown was suspended and a general water quality improvement of 32 % from 2018 to 2020. A moral problem is presented in the present paper: did COVID-19 killed or saved many lives, due to air pollution reduction, while fatality rate of COVID-19 is 1.4 %  and air pollution fatality rate was 7.6 % in 2016 , before air quality improved?
Keywords: Pollution, COVID-19, Austerity Measures, GDP.
1st Revision: 15/02/21
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