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Evaluating Public Policies with High Frequency Data: Evidence for Driving Restrictions in Mexico City Revisited

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  • Christian Salas

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Abstract

The evaluation of public policies is on the heart of the e cient management of public resources. As complex as it generally is, any reform should be assessed on its ability to achieve its preconceived goals. This research paper attempts to show the importance of the design of a public policy's empirical evaluation, considering the susceptibility that its conclusions might have to changes in the approach to the data. The work of Davis (2008), which nds that a driving restrictions program had no impact on air quality in Mexico City, is revisited showing that reasonable changes in the methodology used can dramatically alter its conclusions. Additionally, evidence is presented that shows the success of the restrictions program in reducing air pollution by 12 to 18% during the first months of its implementation followed by a gradual increase in pollutants concentration, consistent with more limited opportunities for adaptation to the policy in the short-run. Finally, an alternative and robust framework is proposed to carry out the policy evaluation con rming the reduction of pollution right after the program's implementation.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Salas, 2010. "Evaluating Public Policies with High Frequency Data: Evidence for Driving Restrictions in Mexico City Revisited," Documentos de Trabajo 374, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  • Handle: RePEc:ioe:doctra:374
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    File URL: http://www.economia.uc.cl/docs/dt_374.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lucas W. Davis, 2008. "The Effect of Driving Restrictions on Air Quality in Mexico City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 38-81, February.
    2. Juan-Pablo Montero, 2005. "Pollution Markets with Imperfectly Observed Emissions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(3), pages 645-660, Autumn.
    3. Montero, Juan-Pablo, 2002. "Prices versus quantities with incomplete enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 435-454, September.
    4. Oates, Wallace E & Portney, Paul R & McGartland, Albert M, 1989. "The Net Benefits of Incentive-Based Regulation: A Case Study of Environmental Standard Setting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1233-1242, December.
    5. Partha Dasgupta & Peter Hammond & Eric Maskin, 1980. "On Imperfect Information and Optimal Pollution Control," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(5), pages 857-860.
    6. Segerson, Kathleen, 1988. "Uncertainty and incentives for nonpoint pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 87-98, March.
    7. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2012. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 933-959.
    8. Michael Greenstone, 2002. "The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufactures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1175-1219, December.
    9. Montero, Juan-Pablo & Sanchez, Jose Miguel & Katz, Ricardo, 2002. "A Market-Based Environmental Policy Experiment in Chile," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 267-287, April.
    10. David S. Lee & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Crime, Punishment, and Myopia," NBER Working Papers 11491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-209, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Viard, V. Brian & Fu, Shihe, 2015. "The effect of Beijing's driving restrictions on pollution and economic activity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 98-115.
    2. Sun, Cong & Zheng, Siqi & Wang, Rui, 2014. "Restricting driving for better traffic and clearer skies: Did it work in Beijing?," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 34-41.
    3. Yan Liu & Zhijun Yan & Su Liu & Yuting Wu & Qingmei Gan & Chao Dong, 2017. "The effect of the driving restriction policy on public health in Beijing," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 85(2), pages 751-762, January.
    4. Hua Ma & Guizhen He, 2016. "Effects of the Post-Olympics Driving Restrictions on Air Quality in Beijing," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(9), pages 1-15, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Policy evaluation; air quality; regression discontinuity;

    JEL classification:

    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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