JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2013, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (10): 1651-1663.doi: 10.11849/zrzyxb.2013.10.001

• Resources Utilization and Management •     Next Articles

Air Pollution in Chinese Cities: Does Enforcement of Environmental Regulations Matter?

HE Can-fei1,3, ZHANG Teng2, YANG Sheng-lang1   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China;
    2. Shenzhen Graduate School, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055, China;
    3. Center for Urban Development and Land Policy, Peking University-Lincoln Institute, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2012-09-04 Revised:2013-04-19 Online:2013-10-20 Published:2013-10-20

Abstract: Air quality degradation has been one of the most urgent environmental problems in urban China. Existing literature explores the relationship between air pollution and economic development under the framework of EKC and stresses the importance of triple effects of technological, structural and scale effects. With the context of regional decentralization in China, institutions may play a critical role in China's environmental degradation. This paper argues the enforcement of environmental regulations matter for urban air quality and proposes that the capability to enforce, pressure to enforce and resistance to enforce may shed some light on the extent of urban industrial pollution controlling for other factors. Using Air Pollution Index data during 2001-2011, this paper finds overall improvement of urban air quality in China but significant inter-city and inter-seasonal variations. Some cities have witnessed constantly air quality reduction. Based on an unbalanced panel data regression model, this study confirms that lack of capability and strong resistances to enforce environmental regulations do have contributed to the environmental deterioration. Social pressure may not be able to help improve urban air quality in China currently. The findings indicate that a new institutional framework is needed to systematically curb China's environmental issue.

Key words: economic geography, air pollution index, environmental regulation, panel data regression

CLC Number: 

  • X32.022