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Polluting thy neighbor: Unintended consequences of China׳s pollution reduction mandates

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  • Cai, Hongbin
  • Chen, Yuyu
  • Gong, Qing

Abstract

This paper studies how the pollution reduction mandates imposed by China׳s central government in 2001 triggered unanticipated responses from its provinces. We apply the difference-in-differences-in-differences (DDD) method to a unique dataset on industry-level activities in counties along 24 major rivers in China from 1998 through 2008. We find that the most downstream county of a province has up to 20 percent more water-polluting activities than otherwise identical counties since 2001. Moreover, we find that the enforcement of pollution fee collection is more lenient in the most downstream county of a province, and that private firms contribute more to the downstream effect than state-owned enterprises and foreign firms. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the provincial governments respond to the pollution reduction mandates by shifting their enforcement efforts away from the most downstream county.

Suggested Citation

  • Cai, Hongbin & Chen, Yuyu & Gong, Qing, 2016. "Polluting thy neighbor: Unintended consequences of China׳s pollution reduction mandates," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 86-104.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:76:y:2016:i:c:p:86-104
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2015.01.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Zhao & Kahn, Matthew E. & Liu, Yu & Wang, Zhi, 2018. "The consequences of spatially differentiated water pollution regulation in China," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 468-485.
    2. Jota Ishikawa & Toshihiro Okubo, 2017. "Greenhouse-Gas Emission Controls and Firm Locations in North–South Trade," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 67(4), pages 637-660, August.
    3. Cai, Hongbin & Wang, Zhi & Zhang, Qinghua, 2017. "To build above the limit? Implementation of land use regulations in urban China," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 223-233.
    4. Ma, Ben & Zheng, Xinye, 2018. "Biased data revisions: Unintended consequences of China's energy-saving mandates," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 102-113.
    5. Ji, Chen & Chen, Shuai & Jin, Songqing, 2018. "Impact Evaluation of “Regulation on water pollution from livestock and poultry production” -- the case of livestock sector in China," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 273863, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Guanyi Yu & Chunliang Xiu & Changsong Zhao & Zhengliang Ding, 2018. "Strategic Cross-Border Water Pollution in Songliao Basin," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-19, December.
    7. Yang, Zhenbing & Fan, Meiting & Shao, Shuai & Yang, Lili, 2017. "Does carbon intensity constraint policy improve industrial green production performance in China? A quasi-DID analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 271-282.
    8. Guojun He & Yang Xie & Bing Zhang, 2017. "Balancing Development and the Environment in a Changing World: Expressways, GDP, and Pollution in China," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2017-43, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Aug 2017.
    9. Garg, Teevrat & Hamilton, Stuart E. & Hochard, Jacob P. & Kresch, Evan Plous & Talbot, John, 2018. "(Not so) gently down the stream: River pollution and health in Indonesia," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 35-53.
    10. Wu, Tao & Zhang, Ning & Gui, Lin & Wu, Wenjie, 2018. "Sustainable endogenous growth model of multiple regions: Reconciling OR and economic perspectives," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 269(1), pages 218-226.
    11. Zheng, Siqi & Sun, Weizeng & Wu, Jianfeng & Kahn, Matthew E., 2017. "The birth of edge cities in China: Measuring the effects of industrial parks policy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 80-103.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Water pollution; Abatement; Environmental spillover; China;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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