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Citizen complaints as environmental indicators : evidence from China

Author

Listed:
  • Dasgupta, Susmita
  • Wheeler, David

Abstract

The complaints process in China provides useful information and helps encourage community participation in environmental policy. But it also directs a big share of inspection resources to areas where people tend to complain. After analyzing provincial data for 1987-93, the authors find the subsequent allocation of resources biased, in terms of social welfare. The incidence of complaints reflects potential abatement benefits and the intensity of exposure to highly visible pollutants. However, citizen complaints seem not to be affected by harmful pollutants that are less visible. Basic education seems to have a strong independent effect on propensity to complain. Relying on complaints alone would lead to inappropiately low allocation of inspection resources to less-educated, relatively silent regions. To compensate for incomplete information upon which regulators must rely, the authors say that agencies should invest in public environmental education targeted especially to poorly-educated communities and consider outreach to encourage better communication. The authors also recommend giving priority to technical risk assessments in determining resource allocation.

Suggested Citation

  • Dasgupta, Susmita & Wheeler, David, 1997. "Citizen complaints as environmental indicators : evidence from China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1704, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1704
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Dasgupta, Susmita & Laplante, Benoit & Namingi, Nlandu & Hua Wang, 2000. "Industrial environmental performance in China - the impact of inspections," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2285, The World Bank.
    3. Pargal, Sheoli & Mani, Muthukumara & Huq, Mainul, 1997. "Inspections and emissions in India : puzzling survey evidence about industrial pollution," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1810, The World Bank.
    4. Dasgupta, Susmita & Laplante, Benoit & Mamingi, Nlandu & Wang, Hua, 2001. "Inspections, pollution prices, and environmental performance: evidence from China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 487-498, March.
    5. Raymond, Mark & Weersink, Alfons, 2003. "Agriculture And Citizen Complaints," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22071, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    6. Wheeler, David, 2001. "Racing to the bottom : foreign investment and air pollution in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2524, The World Bank.
    7. Susmita Dasgupta & Benoit Laplante & Hua Wang & David Wheeler, 2002. "Confronting the Environmental Kuznets Curve," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 147-168, Winter.
    8. Hua Wang & Yanhong Jin, 2007. "Industrial Ownership and Environmental Performance: Evidence from China," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 36(3), pages 255-273, March.
    9. Hua Wang & Wheeler, David, 2000. "Endogenous enforcement and effectiveness of China's pollution levy system," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2336, The World Bank.
    10. Wang,Hua*Ming Chen, 1999. "How the Chinese system of charges and subsidies affects pollution control efforts by China's top industrial polluters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2198, The World Bank.
    11. Hua Wang, 2000. "Pollution charges, community pressure, and abatement cost of industrial pollution in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2337, The World Bank.
    12. Dasgupta, Susmita & Deichmann, Uwe & Meisner, Craig & Wheeler, David, 2005. "Where is the Poverty-Environment Nexus? Evidence from Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 617-638, April.
    13. Clive Harris, 2003. "Private Participation in Infrastructure in Developing Countries : Trends, Impacts, and Policy Lessons," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15124.
    14. Lan, Jing & Munro, Alistair, 2013. "Environmental compliance and human capital: Evidence from Chinese industrial firms," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 534-557.
    15. Huang, Haixiao & Miller, Gay Y., 2004. "Citizen Complaints, Regulatory Violations, and their Implications for Swine Operations in Illinois," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20196, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    16. Ma, Chunbo, 2010. "Who bears the environmental burden in China--An analysis of the distribution of industrial pollution sources?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(9), pages 1869-1876, July.
    17. Wang, Hua & Jin, Yanhong H., 2002. "Ownership And Industrial Pollution Control: Evidence From China," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19671, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    18. Hua Wang & Jun Bi & Wheeler, David & Jinnan Wang & Dong Cao & Genfa Lu & Yuan Wang, 2002. "Environmental performance rating and disclosure - China's green-watch program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2889, The World Bank.

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