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Effective environmental protection in the context of government decentralization

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  • ZhongXiang Zhang

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Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • ZhongXiang Zhang, 2012. "Effective environmental protection in the context of government decentralization," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 53-82, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:iecepo:v:9:y:2012:i:1:p:53-82
    DOI: 10.1007/s10368-011-0178-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zhang, ZhongXiang & Baranzini, Andrea, 2004. "What do we know about carbon taxes? An inquiry into their impacts on competitiveness and distribution of income," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 507-518, March.
    2. 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.
    3. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2010. "China in the transition to a low-carbon economy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6638-6653, November.
    4. 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.
    5. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2009. "Multilateral trade measures in a post-2012 climate change regime? What can be taken from the Montreal Protocol and the WTO?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5105-5112, December.
    6. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2008. "Asian energy and environmental policy: Promoting growth while preserving the environment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 3905-3924, October.
    7. 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).
    8. Tom Tietenberg, 1998. "Disclosure Strategies for Pollution Control," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 587-602, April.
    9. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, ZhongXiang, "undated". "Making China the transition to a low-carbon economy: Key challenges and responses," Working Papers 249516, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.
    2. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2014. "Energy Prices, Subsidies and Resource Tax Reform in China," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(3), pages 439-454, September.
    3. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2016. "Are China’s Climate Commitments in a Post-Paris Agreement Sufficiently Ambitious?," MITP: Mitigation, Innovation,and Transformation Pathways 249785, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    4. Can Wang & Jie Lin & Wenjia Cai & ZhongXiang Zhang, 2013. "Policies and Practices of Low Carbon City Development in China," Energy & Environment, , vol. 24(7-8), pages 1347-1372, December.
    5. 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.
    6. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2011. "Assessing China’s carbon intensity pledge for 2020: stringency and credibility issues and their implications," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 13(3), pages 219-235, September.
    7. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2014. "Programs, Prices and Policies Towards Energy Conservation and Environmental Quality in China," Working Papers 249427, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.
    8. Ricky Y. K. Chan & Katherine H. Y. Ma, 2016. "Environmental Orientation of Exporting SMEs from an Emerging Economy: Its Antecedents and Consequences," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 56(5), pages 597-632, October.
    9. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:8:p:1469-:d:108768 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Effective environmental protection; Incentive structure; Economic instruments; Industrial policy; Financial institutions; Government decentralization; China; Q53; Q56; Q58; Q43; Q48; H23; H75; R51;

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • R51 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Finance in Urban and Rural Economies

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