Subnational Environmental Policies in China: Mechanisms and Performance
(Natural Resource Security, Energy and Environmental Policy)
Thursday, November 12, 2015: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Board Room (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Organizers: Hongtao Yi, The Ohio State University
Panel Chairs: Christopher Weible, University of Colorado - Denver
Discussants: Elizabeth Wilson, University of Minnesota
Rapid economic development in China has left the country with a heavy environmental toll, which includes deteriorating air quality due to coal burning and other industrial pollutions, surging greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel consumptions, degrading water quality and resources, and worsening rural environments and land-based ecosystems. These environmental challenges have not only obstructed China’s sustainable development, but also have led to an ongoing and escalating public health crisis. Effective policy designs and inter-regional collaborations have become a priority on China’s policy agenda to address environmental problems and upgrade economic and industrial structures simultaneously. While most extant studies have looked at national policies as the solutions to environmental problems in China, subnational policies have played irreplaceable roles in the multi-level environmental governance structure.
This panel is devoted to examine the governance mechanisms and their performance in China’s subnational environmental policies. The first paper investigates different mechanisms of cooperation among local authorities in China to provide integrated solutions to address environmental issues in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River and the Chengdu Plain Economic Zones. Using the regional agreement as the unit of analysis, this study explores the determinants of cooperation mechanisms among government entities across different levels of government to solve regional environmental collective action problems. The second paper addresses an important environmental policy issue in China: haze pollution. This study investigates the drivers of haze pollution in Chinese cities, especially the impact of environmental expenditure on variations among PM2.5 concentrations in China, based on regression analysis with data on haze pollution in 74 Chinese cities. The third paper looks at the dynamics of environmental governance from the angle of pollution fee collections, by examining factors influencing the collection of pollution impact fees by Chinese provincial governments using a top-down implementation model. With panel data across 31 Chinese provinces, fixed effects regression models are estimated to test the drivers of differing provincial performance in pollution fees collection.
The three papers in this panel explore different aspects of environmental governance, but also complement each other both in terms of theoretical emphasis and levels of analysis. The first two papers examine local environmental policies, while the third paper investigates provincial policy implementation. The first paper explicitly addresses formation of environmental governance mechanism, while the last two papers empirically test the performance of these mechanisms. As a whole, this panel presents a great opportunity for academic and practical dialogue on evidence-based environmental policy making in China.