In recent years, air pollution has received serious concerns from researchers, media, and the public sectors, but air pollution from agricultural production activities has not received enough attention. This paper focuses on agricultural air pollution in central China, which is aggravated by the ongoing rural labor migration trend. With a set of panel data released from Hubei and Hunan provinces in China, we adopt the mediating effect model to explore the relationship between rural labor migration and air pollution caused by agricultural activity in China. First, we use the inventory analysis method and principal component analysis method to calculate the comprehensive index of the air pollution of agriculture in 152 counties and districts from Hubei and Hunan provinces, and we empirically test the impact of labor migration on air pollution with a mediating effect model as well as carry out regional heterogeneity analysis on the pollution effect of these two provinces mentioned above. The analysis above indicates that the increase of labor migration has intensified the comprehensive index of air pollution caused by agricultural activity by changing the supply of labor force in the agricultural sector, the budget line of rural residents, and the scale of agricultural production and crop planting structure, but there is a difference in the indirect total effect between the two provinces mentioned above according to our regional heterogeneity analysis. This study is a necessary extension to studies on alleviating and controlling air pollution in China.
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