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Effective environmental protection in the context of government decentralization

  • ZhongXiang Zhang


China has shifted control over resources and decision making to local governments and enterprises as the result of the economic reforms over the past three decades. This devolution of decision-making to local levels and enterprises has placed environmental stewardship in the hands of local officials and polluting enterprises who are more concerned with economic growth and profits than the environment. Therefore, effective environmental protection needs their full cooperation. Against this background, this paper discusses a variety of tactics that China’s central government has been using to incentivize local governments, and a number of market-based instruments, supporting economic policies, environmental performance ratings and disclosure and cooperation with financial institutions to promote long-lasting, improved corporate energy-saving and environmental performance. It concludes that there is a clear need to carefully examine those objective and subjective factors that lead to the lack of local official’s cooperation on the environment, and provides some suggestions for appropriated incentives to get their cooperation.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal International Economics and Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 9 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 53-82

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Handle: RePEc:kap:iecepo:v:9:y:2012:i:1:p:53-82
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  1. Xavier Labandeira and Jose M. Martin-Moreno, 2009. "Climate Change Policies After 2012," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I).
  2. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2010. "China in the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy," Economics Study Area Working Papers 109, East-West Center, Economics Study Area.
  3. Dasgupta, Susmita & Laplante, Benoit & Mamingi, Nlandu, 2001. "Pollution and Capital Markets in Developing Countries," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 310-335, November.
  4. Zhang, ZhongXiang & Baranzini, Andrea, 2000. "What do we know about carbon taxes? an inquiry into their impacts on competitiveness and distribution of income," MPRA Paper 13225, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jan 2003.
  5. Tom Tietenberg, 1998. "Disclosure Strategies for Pollution Control," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 587-602, April.
  6. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2008. "Asian Energy and Environmental Policy: Promoting Growth While Preserving the Environment," MPRA Paper 12224, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2008. "Multilateral Trade Measures in a Post-2012 Climate Change Regime?: What Can Be Taken from the Montreal Protocol and the WTO?," MPRA Paper 12782, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 29 Dec 2008.
  8. Price, Lynn & Wang, Xuejun & Yun, Jiang, 2010. "The challenge of reducing energy consumption of the Top-1000 largest industrial enterprises in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6485-6498, November.
  9. Zhang, Zhong-Xiang, 2007. "China is moving away the pattern of "develop first and then treat the pollution"," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 3547-3549, July.
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