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Effects of time-dependent environmental regulations on air pollution: Evidence from the Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan region, China

Ke Li, Weihong Yuan, Jianglong Li and Hongshan Ai

World Development, 2021, vol. 138, issue C

Abstract: This study examines the impacts of time-dependent environmental regulations on air pollution during the autumn and winter. This was done by exploiting a quasi-experimental setting where a special period regulation was implemented in the Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan region (CZT, located within Hunan Province in southern China), but not in cities surrounding CZT over the same period. Using hourly level data from October 1, 2014, to September 30, 2017, and by employing a difference-in-differences model, we found that the special period regulation significantly reduced PM2.5 concentrations, the Air Quality Index, and the probability of the occurrence of severely polluted days in CZT. Furthermore, we found that while this regulation had significant negative impacts on air pollution in Changsha, the impacts were not robust in Zhuzhou and Xiangtan. Our results further revealed that the regulatory effects were significantly negative over a 24-hour time period, but the effects temporarily weakened from 12 pm to 2–3 pm. We also confirmed that such regulations can be used to achieve a “win-win” situation in terms of environmental protection and economic growth. Thus, the results suggest that time-dependent environmental regulations will be valuable in combination with existing policies to improve air quality during specific periods.

Keywords: Special period regulation; Air pollution reduction; Difference-in-differences method (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q52 Q53 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105267

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