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Turnover of Local Government Officials and Local Air Quality

Ling-Yun He and Nini Chen

China & World Economy, 2022, vol. 30, issue 4, 100-121

Abstract: This paper constructs a fixed effect model to study the impact of turnover of local government officials on local air quality, and the mechanism through which this effect takes place, using data from 282 prefecture‐level cities in China from 2015 to 2019. This research shows that turnover of local government officials led to a decline in local air quality, mainly due to a “responsibility gap period.” It also found that the heterogeneity of officials and the difference in the implementation of political initiatives by cities affected the length of the “responsibility gap period” – the shorter it was, the lower the air pollution was during official turnover. Air pollution in China is still severe and the Chinese central government should therefore further reform the turnover system to improve local air quality during the turnover of key local officials by shortening the “responsibility gap period.”

Date: 2022
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