NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Guang Shi

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Working Papers and Chapters

January 2013Gaming in Air Pollution Data? Lessons from China
with Yuyu Chen, Ginger Zhe Jin, Naresh Kumar: w18729
Protecting the environment during economic growth is a challenge facing every country. This paper focuses on two regulatory measures that China has adopted to incentivize air quality improvement: publishing a daily air pollution index (API) for major cities since 2000 and linking the API to performance evaluations of local governments. In particular, China defines a day with an API at or below 100 as a blue sky day. Starting in 2003, a city with at least 80% blue sky days in a calendar year (among other criteria) qualified for the “national environmental protection model city” award. This cutoff was increased to 85% in 2007. Using officially reported API data from 37 large cities during 2000-2009, we find a significant discontinuity at the threshold of 100 and this discontinuity is of a g...
March 2011The Promise of Beijing: Evaluating the Impact of the 2008 Olympic Games on Air Quality
with Yuyu Chen, Ginger Zhe Jin, Naresh Kumar: w16907
To prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games, China adopted a number of radical measures to improve air quality. Using officially reported air pollution index (API) from 2000 to 2009, we show that these measures improved the API of Beijing during and after the Games, but 60% of the effect faded away by the end of October 2009. Since the credibility of API data has been questioned, an objective and indirect measure of air quality at a high spatial resolution – aerosol optimal depth (AOD), derived using the data from the NASA satellites – was analyzed and compared with the API trend. The analysis confirms that the improvement was real but temporary and most improvement was attributable to plant closure and traffic control. Our results suggest that it is possible to achieve real environmental improv...

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