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The determinants of pollution levels : firm-level evidence from Chinese manufacturing
Journal of Comparative Economics
  • Liangliang JIANG, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
  • Chen LIN, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Ping LIN, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
  • Pollution,
  • Local protection,
  • Law enforcement,
  • FDI

Using a large, unique, firm-level dataset from the Chinese manufacturing sector, we study important factors that are related to emission intensity for three pollutants in China – sulfur dioxide, wastewater, and soot. Our main findings are as follows: (1) compared to state-owned enterprises (SOEs), both foreign-owned firms and domestic public-listed firms exhibit less intensive pollutant emissions; (2) firms in regions with less local protection have lower pollution intensity; (3) better property rights protection is negatively correlated with pollutant discharge over and beyond the national standards; and (4) larger firms, firms in industries that export more, and firms with more educated employees pollute less. These results suggest that China should not target foreign firms more harshly in its effort to reduce industrial pollution. Better institutions in the form of more effective law enforcement and lower entry barriers across regional markets are also means of curbing China’s pressing environmental problems during its current stage of economic development.

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Copyright © 2013 Association for Comparative Economic Studies

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Additional Information

We are grateful to the editor Daniel Berkowitz, two anonymous reviewers, Gregory Chow, Jin Wang, and Yi Zhu, seminar participants at Lingnan University and participants at the Summer Workshop in Industrial Organization and Management Strategy (IOMS) 2010 Shanghai for their helpful comments and discussions. L. Jiang and P. Lin gratefully acknowledge Lingnan University for financial support of this project.

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Citation Information
Jiang, L., Lin, C., & Lin, P. (2014). The determinants of pollution levels: Firm-level evidence from Chinese manufacturing. Journal of Comparative Economics, 42(1), 118-142. doi: 10.1016/j.jce.2013.07.007