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Doctoral thesis2024Open access

Transitioning to A Sustainable Society : essays in Environmental and Urban Economics

Hu, Xiao


Both environmental and social sustainability are key to building a sustainable society. This thesis contains five empirical papers that investigate different aspects of sustainability in Swedish society. 

Paper 1 uses comprehensive geocoded population data to explore socioeconomic inequality in exposure to air pollution of toxic metals across Sweden. We find no evidence of environmental inequality in Sweden since the 1990s.  

Paper 2 explores how extreme weather events influenced by climate change, like the 2018 Swedish forest fires, shape individuals’ environmental beliefs. The findings suggest that such events could heighten political polarization in environmental attitudes.  

Paper 3 assesses the functioning of the Swedish electricity intraday market, in light of the supply and price variability induced by an increasing share of wind power. The results indicate that the intraday market is functioning properly.  

Paper 4 investigates the effects of implementing apartment-level metering for residential hot water consumption in multi-family buildings. Our findings demonstrate that consumption is 18% lower when tenants pay for their own usage, compared to when they pay a fixed water fee. 

Paper 5 uses Swedish population data to study the effects of income inequality on income-based residential segregation. We find that redistribution from the rich to the poor through taxes and transfers does not affect their choices to live in separate neighbourhoods.


Environmental inequality; Climate events; Political polarization; Intraday market; Water conservation; Residential segregation

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2024, number: 2024:45ISBN: 978-91-8046-262-4, eISBN: 978-91-8046-263-1
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

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