Economy

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.

Mun S Ho, Dale W Jorgenson, and Wenhua Di. 2002. “Pollution taxes and public health.” In Economics of the Environment in China, edited by Jeremy J. Warford and Yi Ning Li. Bethesda, MD: Aileen International Press.
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, 3, 2, Pp. 189-208. Publisher's VersionAbstract
China's rapid economic growth has been accompanied by a high level of environmental degradation. One of the major sources of health and ecosystem damages is sulfur dioxide (SO2). Reducing SO2 emissions is a priority of China's environmental authorities, and the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006–2010) includes the target of reducing total SO2 emissions by 10 percent from the 2005 level. Given the rapid increase in SO2 emissions that is expected to occur in absence of intervention, attaining this target will require a significant effort. This article examines the two major policy measures the government is taking to achieve the SO2 target: a shutdown of many small, inefficient power plants and the installation of desulfurization equipment on existing and new coal-fired plants. We present results from a joint U.S.–China study that we participated in, which estimated the costs and benefits of these policies. We then estimate the economy-wide impacts of the two policies using a multisector model of the Chinese economy. We find that in the aggregate, the economic benefits of the shutdown of the small power plants are large enough to offset the costs of the desulfurization equipment, even without considering the substantial environmental benefits from the reduction of emissions of SO2 and other pollutants.
James K Hammitt and Ying Zhou. 2006. “The economic value of air-pollution-related health risks in China: A contingent valuation study.” Environmental Resource Economics, 33, 3, Pp. 399-423. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The economic value of preventing adverse health effects related to air pollution is estimated using contingent valuation in three diverse locations in China. Values are estimated for three health endpoints: cold, chronic bronchitis, and fatality. Alternative statistical models are tested to study their impact on estimated willingness to pay (WTP) and on the relationship between WTP and respondent characteristics. Using the official exchange rate, the sample-average median WTP to prevent an episode of cold ranges between US$3 and US$6, the WTP to prevent a statistical case of chronic bronchitis ranges between US$500 and US$1,000, and the value per statistical life ranges between US$4,000 and US$17,000. Estimated mean values are between two and thirteen times larger. Our estimates are between about 10 and 1,000 times smaller than estimates for the US and Taiwan using official exchange rates. Indoor air quality, measured for a subset of respondents, shows no consistent relationship with WTP.
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, Pp. 103-157. 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. “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 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.

1998. Energizing China: Reconciling Environmental Protection and Economic Growth. 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.

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, 3, 2, Pp. 231-250. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This article describes a multidisciplinary study of market-based policies for controlling air pollution in China. While previous studies have examined the costs and benefits of pollution control separately, this approach determines them together using an economy–environment model for China. We employ air dispersion simulations and population maps to calculate health damages due to air pollution. This provides estimates of incremental damages for industry output and fuel use. Based on these marginal damages, we simulate the effect of “green taxes” on the economy and show that the environmental benefits exceed the aggregate costs, ignoring adjustment costs for individual sectors.
Karen Fisher-Vanden. 2003. “The effects of market reforms on structural change: Implications for energy use and carbon emissions in China.” Energy Journal, 24, 3, Pp. 27-62. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This paper assesses the role played by market reforms in shaping the future level and composition of production, energy use, and carbon emissions in China. Arguments have been made that reducing distortions in China's economy through market reforms will lead to energy efficiency improvements and lower carbon emissions in China. However, these arguments are based on partial and not general equilibrium analyses, and therefore overlook the effects of market reforms on economic growth and structural change. The results suggest that further implementation of market reforms could result in a structural shift to less carbon-intensive production and thus lower carbon emissions per unit GDP. However, this fall in carbon intensity is not enough to compensate for the greater use of energy as a result of market reforms due to higher economic growth and changes in the composition of production. Therefore, China's transition to a market economy could result in significantly higher economic growth, energy use, and carbon emissions. These results could have implications for other countries considering or undergoing market transition.
Chris P Nielsen and Mun S Ho. 2007. “Summary for research.” 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.

F. E. S. Murray, F. Reinhardt, and R. Vietor. 1998. “Foreign firms in the Chinese power sector: economic and environmental impacts.” In Energizing China: Reconciling Environmental Protection and Economic Growth, edited by M.B. McElroy, C.P. Nielsen, P. Lydon, and eds.. 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.

Rui Wang. 2009. “The structure of Chinese urban land prices: Estimates from benchmark land price data.” Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 39, 1, Pp. 24-38. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Taking the recent benchmark land prices published by the Chinese city governments, the paper estimates commercial and residential land price curves of Chinese cities using cross-sectional data, controlling for urban population size and income level. The urban land leasing price–distance relationship is estimated based on the argument that monocentric urban structure is representative for Chinese cities. Both population size and income level are found to positively affect urban land price and price–distance gradients. Commercial land prices are higher than residential land prices except in suburbs or outer central urban areas, where the land prices of different uses converge. In most situations, commercial use price gradients are larger than those of residential use.
Richard Garbaccio, Mun S Ho, and Dale W Jorgenson. 1999. “Controlling carbon emissions in China.” Environment and Development Economics, 4, 4, Pp. 493-518. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We examine the use of carbon taxes to reduce emissions of CO2 in China. To do so, we develop a dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of the Chinese economy. In addition to accounting for the effects of population growth, capital accumulation, technological change, and changing patterns of demand, we also incorporate into our model elements of the dual nature of China's economy where both plan and market institutions exist side by side. We conduct simulations in which carbon emissions are reduced by 5, 10, and 15 per cent from our baseline. After initial declines, in all of our simulations GDP and consumption rapidly exceed baseline levels as the revenue neutral carbon tax serves to transfer income from consumers to producers and then into increased investment. Although subject to a number of caveats, we find potential for what is in some sense a 'double dividend', a decrease in emissions of CO2 and a long run increase in GDP and consumption.
Jing Cao. 2007. “Measuring green productivity growth for China's manufacturing sectors: 1991-2000.” Asian Economic Journal, 21, 4, Pp. 425-251. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Over the past two decades, China has sustained rapid economic growth of 8–10 percent, part of which is attributed to the positive total factor productivity (TFP) growth. However, this extraordinary economic performance has been accompanied by severe environmental pollution and associated health damage. The conventional TFP method is biased in interpreting the progress of technology change because it does not consider non‐marketable residues, such as environmental pollution, and, hence, efficiency improvements in terms of pollution abatement technology and environmentally friendly management are ignored. This bias might direct our attention to less efficient use of environmental friendly abatement technologies or send wrong signals to policy‐makers. To address this issue, the present paper applies a modified welfare‐based green TFP approach, treating environmental damage as non‐desirable (negative) residual output. Therefore, environmental efficiency is taken into account to accurately interpret technological progress from a social welfare point of view. Based on a national time‐series input–output table, historical capital and labor input data for China and sectoral level air pollution emission data from 1991 to 2000, the empirical results suggest that with increasingly stringent environmental regulations, many pollution intensive sectors, such as electricity, primary metal and chemical industries, improved their environmental efficiency in the late 1990s. However, because of the weak environmental regulations in construction and transportation, and in sectors primarily composed of small private or township and village industrial enterprises, firms within these industries contributed to increasing environmental degradation.

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