Given the fact that local governments in China have the power to control resources in their jurisdictions and have a strong influence on local development, their leaders’ turnover may affect the quality of the local environment. However, the existing literature rarely pays attention to the effect of local government leaders’ turnover on haze pollution, as well as the specific impact mechanism. To this end, this paper uses a panel data of 281 prefecture-level cities in China from 2003 to 2016, and then examines the impact of officials’ turnover on haze pollution through a quasi-natural experiment of local government leaders’ turnover. The results show that: （1）Compared with cities without officials’ turnover, PM2.5 concentration in the cities with officials’ turnover increases by 1.12% on average, suggesting that officials’ turnover significantly aggravate haze pollution; （2）This promotion effect is mainly caused by the mayor’s turnover, while the secretary’ turnover has no significant impact on haze pollution, which stems from the different division of labor between the two types of leaders; （3）The impact of officials’ turnover on haze pollution is heterogeneous. Specifically, the promotion effect is more significant in the sub-samples of eastern, central cities, and coastal resource cities; （4）The effect of officials’ turnover on haze pollution varies due to the individual characteristics of officials, that is, it is more significant in sub-samples of nonlocal officials, and the younger, 59-year-old mayor is conducive to alleviating the promotion effect of the mayor’s turnover on haze pollution; （5）Officials’ turnover significantly increases the fluctuation of haze pollution, and the influence of the secretary on the environmental quality is higher than that of the mayor; （6）Relaxing the environmental regulation intensity and increasing fixed-capital investment are two important mechanisms for officials’ turnover to promote haze pollution. Therefore, frequent changes of local officials should be avoided and the continuity of environmental policy implementation should be maintained. At the same time, in order to strengthen the binding force of local government officials on pollution reduction, the central government should build a diversified performance appraisal system oriented by green development. In this way, the newly appointed local officials will strive to find an effective balancing mechanism between economic development and environmental protection. Overall, this paper enriches the political and environmental economics literature related to officials and pollution. Meanwhile, it is helpful to understand the relationship between local government behavior and environmental pollution, and has important policy implications for official governance and haze pollution prevention.
Officials’ Turnover and Haze Pollution: Evidence from Chinese Prefecture-level Cities
Journal of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Vol. 21, Issue 05, pp. 110 - 125 (2019) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.jsufe.2019.05.008
Cite this article
Zhang Hua, Tang Jue. Officials’ Turnover and Haze Pollution: Evidence from Chinese Prefecture-level Cities[J]. Journal of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, 2019, 21(5): 110-125.
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