IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/22507.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Consequences of Spatially Differentiated Water Pollution Regulation in China

Author

Listed:
  • Zhao Chen
  • Matthew E. Kahn
  • Yu Liu
  • Zhi Wang

Abstract

China’s environmental regulators have sought to reduce the Yangtze River’s water pollution. We document that this regulatory effort has had two unintended consequences. First, the regulation’s spatial differential stringency has displaced economic activity upstream. As polluting activity agglomerates upstream, more Pigouvian damage is caused downstream. Second, the regulation has focused on reducing one dimension of water pollution called chemical oxygen demand (COD). Thus, local officials face weak incentives to engage in costly effort to reduce other non-targeted but more harmful water pollutants such as petroleum, lead, mercury, and phenol.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhao Chen & Matthew E. Kahn & Yu Liu & Zhi Wang, 2016. "The Consequences of Spatially Differentiated Water Pollution Regulation in China," NBER Working Papers 22507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22507
    Note: EEE PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w22507.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michael Greenstone & Rema Hanna, 2014. "Environmental Regulations, Air and Water Pollution, and Infant Mortality in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3038-3072, October.
    2. Wang, Hua & Wheeler, David, 2005. "Financial incentives and endogenous enforcement in China's pollution levy system," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 174-196, January.
    3. Cai, Xiqian & Lu, Yi & Wu, Mingqin & Yu, Linhui, 2016. "Does environmental regulation drive away inbound foreign direct investment? Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 73-85.
    4. Randy Becker & Vernon Henderson, 2000. "Effects of Air Quality Regulations on Polluting Industries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 379-421, April.
    5. Simon Alder & Lin Shao & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2016. "Economic reforms and industrial policy in a panel of Chinese cities," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 305-349, December.
    6. Duvivier, Chloé & Xiong, Hang, 2013. "Transboundary pollution in China: a study of polluting firms' location choices in Hebei province," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 459-483, August.
    7. 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.
    8. Gray, Wayne B. & Shadbegian, Ronald J., 2003. "Plant vintage, technology, and environmental regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 384-402, November.
    9. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2004. "Micro-foundations of urban agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 48, pages 2063-2117 Elsevier.
    10. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:4:p:809-826 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Zhao Chen & Sandra Poncet & Ruixiang Xiong, 2017. "Inter-industry relatedness and industrial-policy efficiency: Evidence from China’s export processing zones," Post-Print halshs-01630385, HAL.
    12. Avraham Ebenstein, 2012. "The Consequences of Industrialization: Evidence from Water Pollution and Digestive Cancers in China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 186-201, February.
    13. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    14. Hongbin Cai & Qiao Liu, 2009. "Competition and Corporate Tax Avoidance: Evidence from Chinese Industrial Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 764-795, April.
    15. repec:wsi:wschap:9789813141094_0009 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Laplante, Benoit & Rilstone, Paul, 1996. "Environmental Inspections and Emissions of the Pulp and Paper Industry in Quebec," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 19-36, July.
    17. 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: International Economic Integration and Domestic Performance, chapter 9, pages 155-167 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    18. Ghanem, Dalia & Zhang, Junjie, 2014. "‘Effortless Perfection:’ Do Chinese cities manipulate air pollution data?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 203-225.
    19. repec:eee:chieco:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:327-342 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Kahn, Matthew E., 1997. "Particulate pollution trends in the United States," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 87-107, February.
    21. 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.
    22. Magat, Wesley A & Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Effectiveness of the EPA's Regulatory Enforcement: The Case of Industrial Effluent Standards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 331-360, October.
    23. Hering, Laura & Poncet, Sandra, 2014. "Environmental policy and exports: Evidence from Chinese cities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 296-318.
    24. Iris Claus & Les Oxley & Siqi Zheng & Cong Sun & Ye Qi & Matthew E. Kahn, 2014. "The Evolving Geography Of China'S Industrial Production: Implications For Pollution Dynamics And Urban Quality Of Life," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 709-724, September.
    25. Lopamudra Chakraborti & Kenneth E. McConnell, 2012. "Does Ambient Water Quality Affect the Stringency of Regulations? Plant-Level Evidence of the Clean Water Act," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 88(3), pages 518-535.
    26. 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.
    27. 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.
    28. Wang, Jin, 2013. "The economic impact of Special Economic Zones: Evidence from Chinese municipalities," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 133-147.
    29. Chen, Ying & Henderson, J. Vernon & Cai, Wei, 2017. "Political favoritism in China’s capital markets and its effect on city sizes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 69-87.
    30. Li, Hongbin & Zhou, Li-An, 2005. "Political turnover and economic performance: the incentive role of personnel control in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1743-1762, September.
    31. Ruixue Jia & Masayuki Kudamatsu & David Seim, 2015. "Political Selection In China: The Complementary Roles Of Connections And Performance," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 631-668, August.
    32. Shimshack, Jay P. & Ward, Michael B., 2008. "Enforcement and over-compliance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 90-105, January.
    33. Henderson, J Vernon, 1996. "Effects of Air Quality Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 789-813, September.
    34. Kahn, Matthew E. & Mansur, Erin T., 2013. "Do local energy prices and regulation affect the geographic concentration of employment?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 105-114.
    35. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1995. "Neoclassical Growth, the J Curve for Abatement, and the Inverted U Curve for Pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 162-168, September.
    36. Shadbegian, Ronald & Wolverton, Ann, 2010. "Location Decisions of U.S. Polluting Plants: Theory, Empirical Evidence, and Consequences," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 4(1), pages 1-49, June.
    37. Hilary Sigman, 2002. "International Spillovers and Water Quality in Rivers: Do Countries Free Ride?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1152-1159, September.
    38. Jiang, Liangliang & Lin, Chen & Lin, Ping, 2014. "The determinants of pollution levels: Firm-level evidence from Chinese manufacturing," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 118-142.
    39. Siqi Zheng & Matthew E. Kahn, 2013. "Understanding China's Urban Pollution Dynamics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 731-772, September.
    40. Matthew E. Kahn & Pei Li & Daxuan Zhao, 2015. "Water Pollution Progress at Borders: The Role of Changes in China's Political Promotion Incentives," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 223-242, November.
    41. Wayne B. Gray & Jay P. Shimshack, 2011. "The Effectiveness of Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement: A Review of the Empirical Evidence," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
    42. Kahn, Matthew E., 2004. "Domestic pollution havens: evidence from cancer deaths in border counties," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 51-69, July.
    43. Haakon Vennemo & Kristin Aunan & Henrik Lindhjem & Hans Martin Seip, 2009. "Environmental Pollution in China: Status and Trends," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(2), pages 209-230, Summer.
    44. Chakraborti, Lopamudra, 2016. "Do plants’ emissions respond to ambient environmental quality? Evidence from the clean water act," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 55-69.
    45. Wu, Haoyi & Guo, Huanxiu & Zhang, Bing & Bu, Maoliang, 2017. "Westward movement of new polluting firms in China: Pollution reduction mandates and location choice," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 119-138.
    46. Rassier, Dylan G. & Earnhart, Dietrich, 2015. "Effects of environmental regulation on actual and expected profitability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 129-140.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. China's Water Pollution Regulation
      by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2016-08-30 08:54:00

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:anresc:v:58:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s00168-017-0817-6 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects

    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:22507. 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: http://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 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.

    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.