IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Regional Effects in China of an Emissions-Reduction Policy: Tax v. Subsidy

  • Anping Chen


  • Nicolaas Groenewold

The issue of the possible adverse effects of a reduction in pollution on the economy is a very real one for China, given its public commitment to substantial cuts in CO2 emissions by 2020. An important part of this issue is the regional dimension ¨C the pollution reduction is likely to have significantly different effects across the regions and so possibly exacerbate the already large and persistent inter-regional disparities in China. Policy choices will therefore be complicated and will need to be carried out with a clear understanding of the impact of alternative policies at national and regional levels. One important policy choice which has received little, if any, attention in the regional context is the one between a tax on pollution and a subsidy on abatement activity. We help elucidate this policy choice by exploring the tax-subsidy issue in a small theoretical model which captures some of the salient features of the Chinese regions and the tax/expenditure system and which we solve numerically based on a parameterisation achieved using data for the Chinese economy. We find that (i) The adverse economic effects of a reduction in emissions are greater in the interior than in the coast but (ii) the coast is worse-off than the interior due to relative price changes and the effects of the government budget constraint; (iii) the effects of a tax on macroeconomic variables such as wages, profits and output are greater than they are in the case of a subsidy, particularly in the short run but (iv) there is little to choose between the two instruments as far as welfare is concerned.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa13p1275.

in new window

Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa13p1275
Contact details of provider: Postal: Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria
Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Sam Meng & Mahinda Siriwardana & Judith McNeill, 2013. "The Environmental and Economic Impact of the Carbon Tax in Australia," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(3), pages 313-332, March.
  2. Liu, Zhiqiang, 2005. "Institution and inequality: the hukou system in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 133-157, March.
  3. Chen, Anping & Groenewold, Nicolaas, 2013. "Does investment allocation affect the inter-regional output gap in China? A time-series investigation," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 197-206.
  4. Fischer, Carolyn, 2004. "Emissions Pricing, Spillovers, and Public Investment in Environmentally Friendly Technologies," Discussion Papers dp-04-02, Resources For the Future.
  5. Beladi, Hamid & Frasca, Ralph, 1996. "Regional pollution and multinational firms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 117-125, May.
  6. Zhang, Da & Rausch, Sebastian & Karplus, Valerie J. & Zhang, Xiliang, 2013. "Quantifying regional economic impacts of CO2 intensity targets in China," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 687-701.
  7. Nicolaas Groenewold & Alfred Hagger, 2007. "The effects of fiscal equalisation in a model with endogenous regional governments: an analysis in a two-region numerical model," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 353-374, June.
  8. Costas Hadjiyiannis & Panos Hatzipanayotou & Michael S. Michael, 2009. "Public Pollution Abatement, Regional Capital Mobility, and Tax Competition," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 703–719, January.
  9. Bye, Brita & Jacobsen, Karl, 2011. "Restricted carbon emissions and directed R&D support; an applied general equilibrium analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 543-555, May.
  10. Fleisher, Belton & Li, Haizheng & Zhao, Min Qiang, 2010. "Human capital, economic growth, and regional inequality in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 215-231, July.
  11. Canfei He & Yehua Dennis Wei & Xiuzhen Xie, 2008. "Globalization, Institutional Change, and Industrial Location: Economic Transition and Industrial Concentration in China," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(7), pages 923-945.
  12. Fisher-Vanden, Karen & Ho, Mun S., 2007. "How do market reforms affect China's responsiveness to environmental policy?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 200-233, January.
  13. Liang, Qiao-Mei & Fan, Ying & Wei, Yi-Ming, 2007. "Carbon taxation policy in China: How to protect energy- and trade-intensive sectors?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 311-333.
  14. Rosendahl, Knut Einar, 2008. "Incentives and prices in an emissions trading scheme with updating," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 69-82, July.
  15. Liang, Qiao-Mei & Wei, Yi-Ming, 2012. "Distributional impacts of taxing carbon in China: Results from the CEEPA model," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 545-551.
  16. Bohringer, Christoph & Rutherford, Thomas F., 1997. "Carbon Taxes with Exemptions in an Open Economy: A General Equilibrium Analysis of the German Tax Initiative," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 189-203, February.
  17. Galinato, Gregmar I. & Yoder, Jonathan K., 2010. "An integrated tax-subsidy policy for carbon emission reduction," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 310-326, August.
  18. Whalley, John & Zhang, Shunming, 2007. "A numerical simulation analysis of (Hukou) labour mobility restrictions in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 392-410, July.
  19. repec:cor:louvrp:-2114 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Moriki Hosoe & Tohru Naito, 2006. "Trans-boundary pollution transmission and regional agglomeration effects-super-," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(1), pages 99-120, 03.
  21. Aunan, Kristin & Berntsen, Terje & O'Connor, David & Persson, Therese Hindman & Vennemo, Haakon & Zhai, Fan, 2007. "Benefits and costs to China of a climate policy," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 471-497, June.
  22. Woodland, Alan D. & Yoshida, Chisato, 2006. "Risk preference, immigration policy and illegal immigration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 500-513, December.
  23. Chen, Anping, 2010. "Reducing China's regional disparities: Is there a growth cost?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 2-13, March.
  24. Vennemo, Haakon & Aunan, Kristin & Jianwu, He & Tao, Hu & Shantong, Li, 2009. "Benefits and costs to China of three different climate treaties," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 139-160, August.
  25. Callan, Tim & Lyons, Sean & Scott, Susan & Tol, Richard S.J. & Verde, Stefano, 2009. "The distributional implications of a carbon tax in Ireland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 407-412, February.
  26. Beladi, Hamid & Rapp, John, 1993. "Urban Unemployment and the Backward Incidence of Pollution Control," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 153-63.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa13p1275. 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: (Gunther Maier)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.