Does Public Participation Matter? Evidence from a National-Scale Experiment on the Enforcement of Environmental Regulations in China


Date & Time:May 19, 2021   10:00- 11:30am

Venue:Virtual Seminar


                   Meeting ID933 344 450

Speaker:Prof. Guojun He(HKUST


Countries around the world rely on public disclosure programs to aid in the enforcement of environmental regulations, yet little is known about whether they are effective and if they are what makes them so. We layer a national-scale field experiment that randomly directs information on pollution violations to either regulators or the violating firms through public or private channels. Publicly appealing to the regulator of a firm’s violation through Weibo (a popular Chinese social media platform that is comparable to Twitter) increases both regulatory oversight and firm compliance, which reduce subsequent violations by 40% and air and water pollution emissions by 12% and 5%, respectively. In contrast, appealing to the regulator through private channels only causes a small and statistically insignificant improvement in environmental outcomes. Additionally, we randomly vary the proportion of firms subject to appeals at the prefecture-level and find that there is a positive general equilibrium impact as the control firms in high-intensity prefectures reduce violations more than control firms in low-intensitgy prefectures. Analysis of ambient pollution data and additional back-of-the-envelope calculations both suggest that encouraging public participation in environmental governance would lead to significant improvements in China’s aggregate environmental quality.

Speaker Bio:   



何国俊是加州大学伯克利分校博士,哈佛大学博士后。其论文发表于QJE, AER: Insights, AEJ: Applied, JDE, JEEM, JHE等经济学类期刊,也发表于PNAS, Nature: Sustainability, The BMJ等科学类期刊。其研究课题得到国际国内多项基金的资助,研究成果受到社会的广泛关注并推动了相关领域政策的出台与制定。此外,何获得多项学术奖励,包括两次获得邹至庄经最佳经济学论文奖中国健康与管理学会最佳论文奖青木昌彦经济学论文提名奖等,并入选世界经济论坛青年科学家。