Air quality in Urban China

Canfei He, Teng Zhang, Wang Rui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This study develops a framework for measuring the capability, pressure, and resistance to enforce environmental regulations and then applies this three-dimensional enforcement framework to air quality enforcement in urban China. Based on daily Air Pollution Index data published by China's Ministry of Environmental Protection during 2001-2011, the paper reports an overall improvement in urban air quality, but significant inter-city variations. Statistical results indicate that low capability and strong resistance to the enforcement of stringent environmental regulations have contributed to environmental degradation in urban China, and social pressure has not significantly helped clean the urban sky. Economic development and structural transformation have tended to reduce the environmental bargaining power of regulated actors in local economies. The findings imply that supportive institutional arrangements together with necessary financial and human resources would help improve air quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-771
Number of pages22
JournalEurasian Geography and Economics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution index
  • Enforcement
  • Environmental Kuznets curve
  • Environmental regulation
  • Panel data regression
  • Urban air quality


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