Economy and Policy

In Press
Nan Zhong, Jing Cao, and Yuzhu Wang. In Press. “Traffic congestion, ambient air pollution and health: Evidence from driving restrictions in Beijing.” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. Abstract

Vehicles have recently overtaken coal to become the largest source of air pollution in urban China. Research on mobile sources of pollution has foundered due both to inaccessibility of Chinese data on health outcomes and strong identifying assumptions. To address these, we collect daily ambulance call data from the Beijing Emergency Medical Center and combine them with an idiosyncratic feature of a driving restriction policy in Beijing that references the last digit of vehicles’ license plate numbers. Because the number 4 is considered unlucky by many in China, it tends to be avoided on license plates. As a result, days on which the policy restricts license plates ending in 4 unintentionally allow more vehicles in Beijing. Leveraging this variation, we find that traffic congestion is indeed 22% higher on days banning 4 and that 24-hour average concentration of NO2 is 12% higher. Correspondingly, these short term increases in pollution increase ambulance calls by 12% and 3% for fever and heart related symptoms, while no effects are found for injuries. These findings suggest that traffic congestion has substantial health externalities in China but that they are also responsive to policy. 

Submitted
Haikun Wang, Yanxu Zhang, Xi Lu, Weimo Zhu, Chris P. Nielsen, Jun Bi, and Michael B. McElroy. Submitted. “Trade‐driven relocation of air pollution and health impacts in China.” Nature Communications.
2016

Understanding the rapidly rising demand for energy in China is essential to efforts to reduce the country's energy use and environmental damage. In response to rising incomes and changing prices and demographics, household use of various fuels, electricity and gasoline has changed dramatically in China. In this paper, we estimate both income and price elasticities for various energy types using Chinese urban household micro-data collected by National bureau of Statistics, by applying a two-stage budgeting AIDS model. We find that total energy is price and income inelastic for all income groups after accounting for demographic and regional effects. Our estimated electricity price elasticity ranges from - 0.49 to -0.57, gas price elasticity ranges from -0.46 to -0.94, and gasoline price elasticity ranges from -0.85 to -0.94. Income elasticity for various energy types range from 0.57 to 0.94. Demand for coal is most price and income elastic among the poor, whereas gasoline demand is elastic for the rich.

2015
Haikun Wang, Yanxia Zhang, Xi Lu, Chris P Nielsen, and Jun Bi. 2015. “Understanding China's carbon dioxide emissions from both production and consumption perspectives.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 52: 189-200. Publisher's Version Abstract

China is now the largest emitter of CO2 in the world, having contributed nearly half of the global increase in carbon emissions between 1980 and 2010. The existing literature on China’s carbon emissions has focused on two dimensions: the amount of CO2 emitted within China’s geographical boundaries (a production-based perspective), and the drivers of, and responsibility for, these emissions (a consumption-based perspective). The current study begins with a comprehensive review of China’s CO2 emissions, and then analyzes their driving forces from both consumption and production perspectives, at both national and provincial levels. It is concluded that China’s aggregate national CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption and cement production maintained high growth rates during 2000-2010. National emissions reached 6.8–7.3 billion tons in 2007, nearly 25% of which were caused by net exports (i.e., exports minus imports) to other countries. However, emission characteristics varied significantly among different regions and provinces, and considerable emission leakage from the developed eastern regions to inland and western areas of the country was found. The objectives of China’s policies should therefore be broadened from continued improvement of energy efficiency to accelerating regional technology transfer and preventing mere relocation of carbon-intensive economic activities from developed coastal regions to less developed, inland provinces. To rapidly and effectively cut down China’s carbon emissions, moreover, its energy supply should be aggressively decarbonized by promoting renewable and low carbon energy sources.

2013
Chris P Nielsen and Mun S Ho. 2013. “Atmospheric Environment in China: Introduction and Research Review.” In Clearer Skies Over China: Reconciling Air Quality, Climate, and Economic Goals, 3-58. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Click here for the book on the MIT Press website.
Clearer Skies Over China: Reconciling Air Pollution, Climate, and Economic Goals
Jing Cao, Mun S Ho, and Dale W Jorgenson. 2013. “The Economics of Environmental Policies in China.” In Clearer Skies Over China: Reconciling Air Quality, Climate, and Economic Goals, 329-372. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Publisher's Version
Chris P Nielsen and Mun S Ho. 2013. “Op-ed: Clearing the air in China.” New York Times (Sunday Review), October 27 : SR4. Publisher's Version
Chris P Nielsen, Mun S Ho, Jing Cao, Yu Lei, Yuxuan Wang, and Yu Zhao. 2013. “Summary: Carbon Taxes for 2013-2020.” In Clearer Skies Over China: Reconciling Air Quality, Climate, and Economic Goals, 103-157. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Publisher's Version
Chris P Nielsen, Mun S Ho, Yu Zhao, Yuxuan Wang, Yu Lei, and Jing Cao. 2013. “Summary: Sulfur Mandates and Carbon Taxes for 2006-2010.” In Clearer Skies Over China: Reconciling Air Quality, Climate, and Economic Goals, 59-102. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Publisher's Version
2012
Jing Cao, Mun S Ho, and Dale W Jorgenson. 2012. “An integrated assessment of the economic costs and environmental benefits of pollution and climate control.” In The Chinese Economy: A New Transition, edited by Masahiko Aoki. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Publisher's Version
2009
Jing Cao, Richard Garbaccio, and Mun S Ho. 2009. “China's 11th Five-Year Plan and the environment: Reducing SO2 emissions.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 2, 3: 189-208. Publisher's Version
Jing Cao, Mun S Ho, Dale W Jorgenson, Rouen Ren, Linlin Sun, and Ximing Yue. 2009. “Industrial and aggregate measures of productivity growth in China, 1982-2000.” Review of Income Wealth , s1, 55: 485-513. Publisher's Version
Jing Cao, Mun S Ho, and Dale W Jorgenson. 2009. “The local and global benefits of green tax policies in China.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 2, 3: 231-250. Publisher's Version
Rui Wang. 2009. “The structure of Chinese urban land prices: Estimates from benchmark land price data.” Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 1, 39: 24-38. Publisher's Version
2007
Chris P Nielsen and Mun S Ho. 2007. “Air pollution and health damages in China: An introduction and review.” In Clearing the air: The health and economic damages of air pollution in China, edited by Chris P Nielsen and Mun S Ho. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Publisher's Version
Clearing the air: The health and economic damages of air pollution in China
Ying Zhou and James K Hammitt. 2007. “The economic value of air-pollution-related health risks in China: A contingent valuation study.” In Clearing the air: The health and economic damages of air pollution in China, edited by Mun S Ho and Chris P Nielsen. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Publisher's Version

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