How Does Public Participation in Environmental Protection Affect Air Pollution in China? A Perspective of Local Government Intervention
Po Kou 1
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School of Business Administration, Northeastern University, Shenyang 110169, China
Po Kou   

School of Business Administration, Northeastern University, Shenyang, China
Submission date: 2021-03-14
Final revision date: 2021-08-02
Acceptance date: 2021-08-30
Online publication date: 2022-01-04
Publication date: 2022-02-16
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2022;31(2):1095–1107
Weak institutions hinder the improvement of air quality in developing countries. This paper focuses on whether public environmental participation can correct the adverse effects of government behavior on air quality in weak institutional settings using the spatial econometric model based on China‘s panel data during 2003-2017. The results show that local government intervention is not conducive to environmental improvement. This adverse impact has spatial spillover effects due to competition among local governments for promotion. The public cannot rely on their own strength to form constraints on local government behavior. However, with the central government‘s help, public environmental participation can effectively restrain the adverse effects of improper intervention by local governments on air quality. After considering the heterogeneity of air pollutants, with the central government‘s assistance, public environmental participation only has a statistically significant improvement effect on sulfur dioxide. We believe that the characteristics of pollutants and local governments‘ strategic response to the public are the main reasons for this result. The findings indicate that local governments are mainly accountable to the central government under the performance-based appointment system. The impact of public environment participation is highly dependent on the central government.