Public Perception Towards Various Policy Instruments Under Technology Uncertainties -- Learning from Smog Control Policies in China
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
This research studies public perception towards smog control policy in China. As inhalable particles become the principal pollution source in many areas, local governments design various traffic control policies. For example, Beijing started license plate-based driving bans to all vehicles from 2014, while Shanghai adopts a combination of license plate auction and rush hour bans to non-local cars. City like Guangzhou is still under the process of making policy of license plate ban. Answers to questions such as: what are the public perception levels towards different type of policy tools? what are essential factors that influence public perception formation? And does knowledge uncertainty play any role in perception formation in different localities? would public perception shed great lights on policy implementation, especially considering the limited level of public opinion absorption through formal policy making institution.
Based on literature review, we tested public perception towards different traffic ban policies from four dimensions: perceived risk of smog, knowledge of smog formation, perception of benefits, and trust in government agencies. Individual characteristic variables such as age, education, gender are treated as control variables. We randomly sampled 200 residents in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou respectively. The preliminary of 166 valid questionnaires in Beijing shows that risk perception, benefits, trust in government and knowledge all significantly affect the public's support for traffic ban policy. The higher the public’s risk perception and trust in government, the higher the public’s support for the policy. The public’s knowledge about causes and hazards of smog is positively related with the public’s support significantly. And perception of benefits has a negative correlation with the public’s support. For personal characteristic variables, women’s support for policy is significantly higher than men, and education level shows an inverted "U" type.
We are expecting to reveal various public perception models towards different traffic ban policies in Shanghai and Guangzhou via further analysis and to explore policy implications of policy instrument selection for these cities.