IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/18729.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Gaming in Air Pollution Data? Lessons from China

Author

Listed:
  • Yuyu Chen
  • Ginger Zhe Jin
  • Naresh Kumar
  • Guang Shi

Abstract

Protecting the environment during economic growth is a challenge facing every country. This paper focuses on two regulatory measures that China has adopted to incentivize air quality improvement: publishing a daily air pollution index (API) for major cities since 2000 and linking the API to performance evaluations of local governments. In particular, China defines a day with an API at or below 100 as a blue sky day. Starting in 2003, a city with at least 80% blue sky days in a calendar year (among other criteria) qualified for the "national environmental protection model city" award. This cutoff was increased to 85% in 2007. Using officially reported API data from 37 large cities during 2000-2009, we find a significant discontinuity at the threshold of 100 and this discontinuity is of a greater magnitude after 2003. Moreover, we find that the model cities were less likely to report API right above 100 when they were close to the targeted blue sky days in the fourth quarter of the year when or before they won the model city award. That being said, we also find significant correlation of API with two alternative measures of air pollution - namely visibility as reported by the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) and Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD), corrected for meteorological conditions, from NASA satellites. The discontinuity around 100 suggests that count of blue sky days could have been subject to data manipulation; nevertheless, API does contain useful information about air pollution.

Suggested Citation

  • Yuyu Chen & Ginger Zhe Jin & Naresh Kumar & Guang Shi, 2013. "Gaming in Air Pollution Data? Lessons from China," NBER Working Papers 18729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18729
    Note: IO
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18729.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Chen, Yuyu & Jin, Ginger Zhe & Kumar, Naresh & Shi, Guang, 2013. "The promise of Beijing: Evaluating the impact of the 2008 Olympic Games on air quality," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 424-443.
    3. Steven D. Levitt & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Market Distortions When Agents Are Better Informed: The Value of Information in Real Estate Transactions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-611, November.
    4. John A. List & Daniel L. Millimet & Per G. Fredriksson & W. Warren McHone, 2003. "Effects of Environmental Regulations on Manufacturing Plant Births: Evidence from a Propensity Score Matching Estimator," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 944-952, November.
    5. Zeng, Dao-Zhi & Zhao, Laixun, 2009. "Pollution havens and industrial agglomeration," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 141-153, September.
    6. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877.
    7. Raymond Fisman & Shang-Jin Wei, 2009. "The Smuggling of Art, and the Art of Smuggling: Uncovering the Illicit Trade in Cultural Property and Antiques," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 82-96, July.
    8. Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 180-212, August.
    9. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030.
    10. Murdoch, James C. & Sandler, Todd, 1997. "The voluntary provision of a pure public good: The case of reduced CFC emissions and the Montreal Protocol," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 331-349, February.
    11. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
    12. Chenggang Xu, 2011. "The Fundamental Institutions of China's Reforms and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1076-1151, December.
    13. Judith M. Dean & Mary E. Lovely & Hua Wang, 2017. "Are foreign investors attracted to weak environmental regulations? Evaluating the evidence from China," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Mary E Lovely (ed.), International Economic Integration and Domestic Performance, chapter 9, pages 155-167, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    14. Currie, Janet & Neidell, Matthew & Schmieder, Johannes F., 2009. "Air pollution and infant health: Lessons from New Jersey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 688-703, May.
    15. Wolfgang Keller & Arik Levinson, 2002. "Pollution Abatement Costs and Foreign Direct Investment Inflows to U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 691-703, November.
    16. Congleton, Roger D, 1992. "Political Institutions and Pollution Control," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 412-421, August.
    17. 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.
    18. Greenstone, Michael, 2004. "Did the Clean Air Act cause the remarkable decline in sulfur dioxide concentrations?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 585-611, May.
    19. Slemrod, Joel B, 1985. "An Empirical Test for Tax Evasion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(2), pages 232-238, May.
    20. Chen, Ye & Li, Hongbin & Zhou, Li-An, 2005. "Relative performance evaluation and the turnover of provincial leaders in China," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 421-425, September.
    21. 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.
    22. Degeorge, Francois & Patel, Jayendu & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1999. "Earnings Management to Exceed Thresholds," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-33, January.
    23. Petia Topalova & Ms. Prachi Mishra & Mr. Arvind Subramanian, 2007. "Policies, Enforcement, and Customs Evasion: Evidence from India," IMF Working Papers 2007/060, International Monetary Fund.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Chen, Yuyu & Jin, Ginger Zhe & Kumar, Naresh & Shi, Guang, 2013. "The promise of Beijing: Evaluating the impact of the 2008 Olympic Games on air quality," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 424-443.
    2. Tanaka, Shinsuke, 2015. "Environmental regulations on air pollution in China and their impact on infant mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 90-103.
    3. Chen, Shiyi & Jiang, Lingduo & Liu, Wanlin & Song, Hong, 2022. "Fireworks regulation, air pollution, and public health: Evidence from China," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C).
    4. Li, Shanjun & Liu, Yanyan & Purevjav, Avralt-Od & Yang, Lin, 2019. "Does subway expansion improve air quality?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 213-235.
    5. Michael Greenstone & John A. List & Chad Syverson, 2011. "The Effects of Environmental Regulation on the Competiveness of U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers 11-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Rivera, Nathaly M., 2017. "The Effectiveness of Temporary Driving Restrictions: Evidence from Air Pollution, Vehicle Flows, and Mass-Transit Users in Santiago," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 259182, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. Rivera, Nathaly M., 2021. "Air quality warnings and temporary driving bans: Evidence from air pollution, car trips, and mass-transit ridership in Santiago," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    8. 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.
    9. Antoine Dechezleprêtre & Misato Sato, 2017. "The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Competitiveness," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(2), pages 183-206.
    10. Han, Qing & Liu, Ying & Lu, Zilong, 2020. "Temporary driving restrictions, air pollution, and contemporaneous health: Evidence from China," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    11. Rafael Lalive & Simon Luechinger & Armin Schmutzler, 2013. "Does Supporting Passenger Railways Reduce Road Traffic Externalities?," ECON - Working Papers 110, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    12. Avraham Ebenstein & Maoyong Fan & Michael Greenstone & Guojun He & Peng Yin & Maigeng Zhou, 2015. "Growth, Pollution, and Life Expectancy: China from 1991-2012," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 226-231, May.
    13. Liu, Mengdi & Tan, Ruipeng & Zhang, Bing, 2021. "The costs of “blue sky”: Environmental regulation, technology upgrading, and labor demand in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    14. 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.
    15. Margaryan, Shushanik, 2021. "Low emission zones and population health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    16. Deepti Goel & Sonam Gupta, 2013. "Delhi Metro and Air Pollution," Working papers 229, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    17. He, Guojun & Fan, Maoyong & Zhou, Maigeng, 2016. "The effect of air pollution on mortality in China: Evidence from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 18-39.
    18. Lyu, Xueying, 2022. "Car restriction policies and housing markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C).
    19. 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.
    20. Gillingham, Kenneth & Huang, Pei, 2021. "Racial disparities in the health effects from air pollution: Evidence from ports," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-058, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18729. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.