Economy

Hong Wang and John Mullahy. 2006. “Willingness to pay for reducing fatal risk by improving air quality: A contingent valuation study in Chongqing, China.” Science of the Total Environment, 367, Pp. 50-57. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In China, 76% of all energy comes from coal consumption, which is the major cause of air pollution. One of the major barriers to developing sound policies for controlling air pollution is the lack of information related to the value of the health consequences of air pollution. We conducted a willingness-to-pay (WTP) study using contingent valuation (CV) methods in Chongqing, China to estimate the economic value of saving one statistical life through improving air quality.

A sample of 500 residents was chosen based on multistage sampling methods. A face-to-face household interview was conducted using a series of hypothetical, open-ended scenarios followed by bidding game questions designed to elicit the respondents' WTP for air pollution reduction. The Two-Part Model was used for estimations.

The results show that 96% of respondents were able to express their WTP. Their mean annual income is $490. Their WTP to save one statistical life is $34,458. Marginal increases for saving one statistical life is $240 with 1 year age increase, $14,434 with 100 yuan monthly income increase, and $1590 with 1 year education increase. Unlike developed country, clean air may still be considered as a “luxury” good in China based on the estimation of income elasticity.

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, Pp. 329-372. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A groundbreaking U.S.–Chinese inquiry into the effects of recent air pollution controls and prospective carbon taxes on China's economy and environment.

China's carbon dioxide emissions now outstrip those of other countries and its domestic air quality is severely degraded, especially in urban areas. Its sheer size and its growing, fossil-fuel-powered economy mean that China's economic and environmental policy choices will have an outsized effect on the global environmental future. Over the last decade, China has pursued policies that target both fossil fuel use and atmospheric emissions, but these efforts have been substantially overwhelmed by the country's increasing energy demands. With a billion citizens still living on less than $4,000 per year, China's energy and environmental policies must be reconciled with the goals of maintaining economic growth and raising living standards.

This book, a U.S.–Chinese collaboration of experts from Harvard and Tsinghua University, offers a groundbreaking integrated analysis of China's economy, emissions, air quality, public health, and agriculture. It first offers essential scientific context and accessible summaries of the book's policy findings; it then provides the underlying scientific and economic research. These studies suggest that China's recent sulfur controls achieved enormous environmental health benefits at unexpectedly low costs. They also indicate that judicious implementation of carbon taxes could reduce not only China's carbon emissions but also its air pollution more comprehensively than current single-pollutant policies, all at little cost to economic growth.

Chris P Nielsen and Mun S Ho. 2007. “Summary for policy.” 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 VersionAbstract

An interdisciplinary, quantitative assessment of the health and economic costs of air pollution in China, and of market-based policies to build environmental protection into economic development.

China's historic economic expansion is driven by fossil fuels, which increase its emissions of both local air pollutants and greenhouse gases dramatically. Clearing the Air is an innovative, quantitative examination of the national damage caused by China's degraded air quality, conducted in a pathbreaking, interdisciplinary U.S.-China collaboration. Its damage estimates are allocated by sector, making it possible for the first time to judge whether, for instance, power generation, transportation, or an unexpected source such as cement production causes the greatest environmental harm. Such objective analyses can reset policy priorities.

Clearing the Air uses this information to show how appropriate "green" taxes might not only reduce emissions and health damages but even enhance China's economic growth. It also shows to what extent these same policies could limit greenhouse gases, suggesting that wealthier nations have a responsibility to help China build environmental protection into its growth.

Clearing the Air is written for diverse readers, providing a bridge from underlying research to policy implications, with easily accessible overviews of issues and summaries of the findings for nonspecialists and policymakers followed by more specialized, interlinked studies of primary interest to scholars. Taken together, these analyses offer a uniquely integrated assessment that supports the book's economic and policy recommendations.

Xiaoqi Guo and James K Hammitt. 2009. “Compensating wage differentials with unemployment: Evidence from China.” Environmental and Resource Economics, 42, 2, Pp. 187-209. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We estimate the economic value of mortality risk in China using the compensating-wage-differential method. We find a positive and statistically significant correlation between wages and occupational fatality risk. The estimated effect is largest for unskilled workers. Unemployment reduces compensation for risk, which suggests that some of the assumptions under which compensating wage differentials can be interpreted as measures of workers’ preferences for risk and income are invalid when unemployment is high. Workers may be unwilling to quit high-risk jobs when alternative employment is difficult to obtain, violating the assumption of perfect mobility, or some workers (e.g., new migrants) may be poorly informed about between-job differences in risk, violating the assumption of perfect information. These factors suggest our estimates of the value per statistical life (VSL) in China, which range from approximately US$30,000 to US$100,000, may be biased downward. Alternative estimates adjust for heterogeneity of risk within industry by assuming that risk is concentrated among low-skill workers. These estimates, which are likely to be biased downward, range from US$7,000 to US$20,000.

This study developed a new approach to the valuation of health risk in China, for monetizing health damages of environmental degradation.

Karen Fisher-Vanden. 2003. “Management structure and technology diffusion in Chinese state-owned enterprises.” Energy Policy, 31, 3, Pp. 247-257. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This paper identifies factors that can explain the variation in the diffusion of continuous casting technology among Chinese steel firms during the period 1985–1995. Potential factors affecting firm-level diffusion of continuous casting technology are tested econometrically using data from 75 Chinese steel firms. The results suggest that institutional factors, such as management structure, have had a significant influence on a firm's rate of diffusion. In particular, the results show that although centrally managed firms are typically the first to acquire a new technology, complete integration of the technology into the production process occurs more rapidly in firms that are locally managed. Furthermore, the results suggest that certain market factors are important in a locally managed firm's decision to convert, but seem to have played a lesser role in centrally managed firms. These results imply that although centrally managed firms have better access to new technologies due to their close ties to the central government, locally managed firms may possess a greater incentive to improve production efficiency through the incorporation of new technology.
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, Pp. 189-200. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

Yi-Ming Wei, Lan-Cui Liu, Ying Fan, and Gang Wu. 2007. “The impact of lifestyle on energy use and CO2 emission: An empirical analysis of China’s residents.” Energy Policy, 35, 1, Pp. 247-257. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Based on the application of a Consumer Lifestyle Approach (CLA), this paper quantifies the direct and indirect impact of lifestyle of urban and rural residents on China's energy use and the related CO2 emissions during the period 1999–2002. The results show that approximately 26 per cent of total energy consumption and 30 per cent of CO2 emission every year are a consequence of residents’ lifestyles, and the economic activities to support these demands. For urban residents the indirect impact on energy consumption is 2.44 times greater than the direct impact. Residence; home energy use; food; and education, cultural and recreation services are the most energy-intensive and carbon-emission-intensive activities. For rural residents, the direct impact on energy consumption is 1.86 times that of the indirect, and home energy use; food; education, and cultural recreation services; and personal travel are the most energy-intensive and carbon-emission-intensive activities. This paper provides quantitative evidence for energy conservation and environmental protection focused policies. China's security for energy supply is singled out as a serious issue for government policy-makers, and we suggest that government should harmonize the relationships between stakeholders to determine rational strategies.
Chris P Nielsen and Michael B. McElroy. 1998. “Introduction and overview.” In Energizing China: Reconciling Environmental Protection and Economic Growth, edited by Michael B. McElroy, Chris P. Nielsen, and Peter Lydon. Cambridge, MA: HUCE/Harvard University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

As China develops its booming, fossil fuel-powered economy, is it taking lessons from the history of Western industrialization and the unforeseen environmental harms that accompanied it? Given the risks of climate change, is there an imperative, shared responsibility to help China respond to the environmental effects of its coal dependence? By linking global hazards to local air pollution concerns—from indoor stove smoke to burgeoning ground-level ozone—this volume of eighteen studies seeks integrated strategies to address simultaneously a range of harmful emissions. Counterbalancing the scientific inquiry are key chapters on China’s unique legal, institutional, political, and cultural factors in effective pollution control.

Energizing China, the stage-setting publication of an ongoing program of Harvard–China research collaboration, is distinguished by its conceptual breadth and spirit of exchange. Its contributors include twenty-two Western and seventeen Chinese scholars with a disciplinary reach that includes science, public health, engineering, economics, public policy, law, business, and China studies.

Richard Garbaccio, Mun S Ho, and Dale W Jorgenson. 1999. “Why has the energy output ratio fallen in China?” Energy Journal, 20, 3, Pp. 63-91. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In China, between 1978 and 1995, energy use per unit of GDP fell by 55 percent. There has been considerable debate about the major factors responsible for this dramatic decline in the energy-output ratio. In this paper we use the two most recent input-output tables to decompose the reduction in energy use into technical change and various types of structural change, including changes in the quantity and composition of imports and exports. In performing our analysis we are forced to deal with a number of problems with the relevant Chinese data and introduce some simple adjustments to improve the consistency of the input-output tables. Our main conclusion is that between 1987 and 1992, technical change within sectors accounted for most of the fall in the energyoutput ratio. Structural change actually increased the use of energy. An increase in the import of some energy-intensive products also contributed to the decline in energy intensity.
Yanxia Zhang, Haikun Wang, Sai Liang, Ming Xu, Weidong Liu, Shalang Li, Rongrong Zhang, Chris P Nielsen, and Jun Bi. 2014. “Temporal and spatial variations in consumption-based carbon dioxide emissions in China.” Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 40, Pp. 60-68. Publisher's VersionAbstract

China’s CO2 emissions have sharply increased in recent years with soaring economic development and urbanization. Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions could provide new insights for allocating regional mitigation responsibility and curbing the emissions. A multi-regional input–output model is used to study the trends and disparities of consumption-based emissions from Chinese provinces during the period 2002–2007. Results show that China’s consumption-based CO2 emissions grew from 3549 Mt in 2002 to 5403 Mt in 2007 with an annual average growth rate of 8.8%. The annual growth rate in the richer eastern region was over 10% because of a rapid increase in capital investment and the growth of urban consumption. Consumption-based CO2 emissions embodied in interprovincial trades contributed only 10% (351 Mt) to the national total of such emissions in 2002, but 16% (864 Mt) in 2007. Given low per capita emissions currently, China’s consumption-based emissions have much room to grow because of further development of urbanization and stimulation of domestic demand. The government should pay greater attention to controlling CO2 emissions from a consumption-based perspective.

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, Pp. 3-58. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A groundbreaking U.S.–Chinese inquiry into the effects of recent air pollution controls and prospective carbon taxes on China's economy and environment.

China's carbon dioxide emissions now outstrip those of other countries and its domestic air quality is severely degraded, especially in urban areas. Its sheer size and its growing, fossil-fuel-powered economy mean that China's economic and environmental policy choices will have an outsized effect on the global environmental future. Over the last decade, China has pursued policies that target both fossil fuel use and atmospheric emissions, but these efforts have been substantially overwhelmed by the country's increasing energy demands. With a billion citizens still living on less than $4,000 per year, China's energy and environmental policies must be reconciled with the goals of maintaining economic growth and raising living standards.

This book, a U.S.–Chinese collaboration of experts from Harvard and Tsinghua University, offers a groundbreaking integrated analysis of China's economy, emissions, air quality, public health, and agriculture. It first offers essential scientific context and accessible summaries of the book's policy findings; it then provides the underlying scientific and economic research. These studies suggest that China's recent sulfur controls achieved enormous environmental health benefits at unexpectedly low costs. They also indicate that judicious implementation of carbon taxes could reduce not only China's carbon emissions but also its air pollution more comprehensively than current single-pollutant policies, all at little cost to economic growth.

Mun S Ho and Dale W Jorgenson. 2007. “Policies to control air pollution damages.” 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 VersionAbstract

An interdisciplinary, quantitative assessment of the health and economic costs of air pollution in China, and of market-based policies to build environmental protection into economic development.

China's historic economic expansion is driven by fossil fuels, which increase its emissions of both local air pollutants and greenhouse gases dramatically. Clearing the Air is an innovative, quantitative examination of the national damage caused by China's degraded air quality, conducted in a pathbreaking, interdisciplinary U.S.-China collaboration. Its damage estimates are allocated by sector, making it possible for the first time to judge whether, for instance, power generation, transportation, or an unexpected source such as cement production causes the greatest environmental harm. Such objective analyses can reset policy priorities.

Clearing the Air uses this information to show how appropriate "green" taxes might not only reduce emissions and health damages but even enhance China's economic growth. It also shows to what extent these same policies could limit greenhouse gases, suggesting that wealthier nations have a responsibility to help China build environmental protection into its growth.

Clearing the Air is written for diverse readers, providing a bridge from underlying research to policy implications, with easily accessible overviews of issues and summaries of the findings for nonspecialists and policymakers followed by more specialized, interlinked studies of primary interest to scholars. Taken together, these analyses offer a uniquely integrated assessment that supports the book's economic and policy recommendations.

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