Environmental Quality and Sustainability
Environmental Quality & Sustainability
China’s impressive growth in economic output over the past few decades has been accompanied by increasingly serious environmental problems. Several of the country’s urban areas are experiencing some of the worst air pollution in the world, and water pollution and groundwater depletion also are severe problems in several parts of the country. And, China is now the world’s leading emitter of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas. In the coming years, China will be making important choices as to how to confront these environmental challenges. The choices will not only have important environmental consequences, but also broad economic consequences as well, since the economic sacrifices associated with different forms of environmental regulation vary greatly.
Grassland Ecological Compensation Policy in China Improves Grassland Quality and Increases Herders’ Income
Many countries have undertaken large and high-profile payment-for-ecosystem-services (PES) programs to sustain the use of their natural resources. Nevertheless, few studies have comprehensively examined the impacts of existing PES programs. Grassland Ecological Compensation Policy (GECP) is one of the few pastorally focused PES programs with large investments and long duration, which aim to improve grassland quality and increase herder income. Here we present empirical evidence of the effects of GECP on grassland quality and herder income. Through a thorough and in-depth econometric analysis of remote sensing and household survey data, we find that, although GECP improves grassland quality (albeit to only a small extent) and has a large positive effect on income, it exacerbates existing income inequality among herders within their local communities. The analysis demonstrates that the program has induced herders to change their livestock production behavior. Heterogeneity analysis emphasizes the importance of making sure the programs are flexible and are adapted to local resource circumstances.
Stanford scholars are setting and expanding research agendas to analyze China’s economic development and its impact on the world. The newly launched Stanford Center on China’s Economy and Institutions — co-directed by SIEPR senior fellows Hongbin Li and Scott Rozelle — is supporting their work. In this SIEPR Policy Brief, Li and Rozelle outline the research underway by the new center's affiliates.
Abstract: Using field survey data collected by the authors, this chapter first describes groundwater markets in northern China that have been developing rapidly in the past two decades. Groundwater markets in the area are informal, localized and mostly unregulated. There is little price discrimination, and institutional characteristics tend to be similar in both high- and low-income villages. The privatization of tubewells is one of the most important driving forces encouraging the development of groundwater markets.
The Role of Agriculture in China's Development: Performance, policy determinants of success, and lessons for Africa
The lost decades for China in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s look remarkably like the lost decades of Africa in the 1980s an 1990s. Poor land rights, weak incentives, incomplete markets and inappropriate investment portfolios. However, China burst out of its stagnation in the 1980s and has enjoyed three decades of remarkable growth. In this paper we examine the record of the development of China's food economy and identify the policies that helped generate the growth and transformation of agriculture. Incentives, markets and strategic investments by the state were key.