Promotion for Performance? The working incentive of Chinese provincial environmental agency heads in pollution reduction

Lei Liu, Mingyue Li, May Chu

Abstract


Promotion is argued to be the primary working incentive for Chinese officials. Different from previous studies that focus on the provincial governors and party secretaries, this paper makes the first attempt to examine whether the career turnover of China’s provincial environmental agency heads (PEAHs) is affected by the environmental performance within their jurisdictions. The results show that the performance in reducing nationally targeted pollutants—i.e., sulfur dioxide (SO2) and chemical oxygen demand (COD)—is not necessarily correlated with political turnover, which only depends on political factors such as the age when assuming office, tenure of the office, and if they are local people. Therefore, a lack of promotion incentive is found among China’s PEAHs in local environmental management. Their working incentive is straightforward top-down control, making them merely the implementers of economy-dominated local public policy. A more robust and transparent performance management system, to connect the provincial environmental performance with the PEAH’s political career, is supposed to be beneficial for China’s environmental management.


Keywords


Performance management; promotion incentive; environmental governance; environmental agency head; China

Full Text:

PDF

References


Bromberg, D. (2009). Performance measurement: A system with a purpose or a purposeless system?. Public Performance & Management Review, 33(2), 214-221.

Buckley, C., & Piao, V. (2016, April 12). Rural water, not city smog, may be China’s pollution nightmare. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/12/world/asia/china-underground-water-pollution.html

Burns, J. P., & Zhou, Z. (2010). Performance management in the government of the People’s Republic of China: accountability and control in the implementation of public policy. Oecd Journal on Budgeting, 10(2), 1-28.

Cao, X., Kleit, A., & Liu, C. (2016). Why invest in wind energy? Career incentives and Chinese renewable energy politics. Energy Policy, 99, 120-131.

Chen, X., Qin, Q., & Wei, Y.-M. (2016). Energy productivity and Chinese local officials’ promotions: Evidence from provincial governors. Energy Policy, 95, 103-112.

Chen, Y., Li, H., & Zhou, L. A. (2005). Relative performance evaluation and the turnover of provincial leaders in China. Economics Letters, 88(3), 421-425.

Chen, Z., Tang, J., Wan, J., & Chen, Y. (2017). Promotion incentives for local officials and the expansion of urban construction land in China: Using the Yangtze River Delta as a case study. Land Use Policy, 63, 214-225.

Chen, Z., Wang, J.-N., Ma, G.-X., & Zhang, Y.-S. (2013). China tackles the health effects of air pollution. The Lancet, 382(9909), 1959-1960.

Choi, E. K. (2012). Patronage and performance: factors in the political mobility of provincial leaders in post-Deng China. The China Quarterly, 212, 965-981.

Eaton, S., & Kostka, G. (2014). Authoritarian environmentalism undermined? Local leaders’ time horizons and environmental policy implementation in China. The China Quarterly, 218, 359-380.

Edin, M. (1998). Why do Chinese local cadres promote growth? Institutional incentives and constraints of local cadres. Paper presented at the Forum for Development Studies.

Gao, X. (2017). Promotion prospects and career paths of local party-government leaders in China. Journal of Chinese Governance, 2(2), 223-234

Han, H., & Zhao, L. (2016). The inertia of environmental regulatory enforcement in China: Collusion or abuse of authority? In R. C. Hula (Ed.), Reclaiming brownfields: A comparative analysis of adaptive reuse of contaminated properties (pp. 209): Routledge.

Hood, C. (1991). A public management for all seasons?. Public Administration, 69(1), 3-19.

Hsu, A., Alexandre, N., Cohen, S., Jao, P., Khusainova, E., Mosteller, D., . . . Rosengarten, C. (2016). 2016 Environmental Performance Index.

Hu, J. (2009). Analyzing the growing path of the 31 provincial Party committee secretaries: The average age at the beginning is 57 years old. Retrieved from http://news.ifeng.com/mainland/special/shujihuanban/pinglun/200912/1203_8822_1459932.shtml (in Chinese)

Huang, Y., & Liu, L. (2014). Fighting corruption: A long-standing challenge for environmental regulation in China. Environmental Development, 12, 47-49.

Jia, R., Kudamatsu, M., & Seim, D. (2015). Political selection in China: The complementary roles of connections and performance. Journal of the European Economic Association, 13(4), 631-668.

Kahn, M. E., Li, P., & Zhao, D. (2015). Water pollution progress at borders: the role of changes in China’s political promotion incentives. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 7(4), 223-242.

Kostka, G., & Xiaofan, Y. (2015). Career backgrounds of municipal party secretaries in China: why do so few municipal party secretaries rise from the county level?. Modern China, 41(5), 467-505.

Landry, P. F., Lü, X., & Duan, H. (2017). Does performance matter? Evaluating political selection along the chinese administrative ladder. Comparative Political Studies, 51(8), 1074-1105.

Li, H., & Zhou, L.-A. (2005). Political turnover and economic performance: The incentive role of personnel control in China. Journal of Public Economics, 89(9-10), 1743-1762.

Liang, J., & Langbein, L. (2015). Performance management, high-powered incentives, and environmental policies in China. International Public Management Journal, 18(3), 346-385.

Liu, J., Han, Y., Tang, X., Zhu, J., & Zhu, T. (2016). Estimating adult mortality attributable to PM2.5 exposure in China with assimilated PM2.5 concentrations based on a ground monitoring network. Science of the Total Environment, 568, 1253-1262.

Liu, L., & de Jong, M. (2017). The institutional causes of environmental protests in China: A perspective from common pool resource management. Journal of Chinese Governance, 2(4), 460-477.

Liu, L., de Jong, M., & Huang, Y. (2016). Assessing the administrative practice of environmental protection performance evaluation in China: The Case of Shenzhen. Journal of Cleaner Production, 134(Part A), 51-60.

Liu, L., Wu, T., Li, S., de Jong, M., & Sun, Y. (2017). The drivers of local environmental policy in China: An analysis of Shenzhen’s environmental performance management system, 2007–2015. Journal of Cleaner Production, 165, 656-666.

Lo, C. W.-H., Liu, N., Li, P. H. Y., & Wang, W. (2016). Controlling industrial pollution in urban China: Towards a more effective institutional milieu in the Guangzhou Environmental Protection Bureau? China Information, 30(2), 232-258.

Ma, L., Tang, H., & Yan, B. (2015). Public employees’ perceived promotion channels in local China: Merit‐based or guanxi‐orientated? Australian Journal of Public Administration, 74(3), 283-297.

Mei, C., & Wang, X. (2017). Political incentives and local policy innovations in China. Journal of Chinese Political Science, 22, 519–547.

Mu, R., & De Jong, M. (2018). The psychology of local officials: explaining strategic behavior in the Chinese Target Responsibility System. Journal of Chinese Governance, 3(2), 243-260.

Pu, Z., & Fu, J. (2018). Economic growth, environmental sustainability and China mayors’ promotion. Journal of Cleaner Production, 172, 454-465.

Ran, R. (2013). Perverse incentive structure and policy implementation gap in China’s local environmental politics. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 15(1), 17-39.

Shih, V., Adolph, C., & Liu, M. (2012). Getting ahead in the communist party: explaining the advancement of central committee members in China. American Political Science Review, 106(1), 166-187.

Su, F., Tao, R., Xi, L., & Li, M. (2012). Local officials’ incentives and China’s economic growth: tournament thesis reexamined and alternative explanatory framework. China & World Economy, 20(4), 1-18.

Tao, R., Su, F., Lu, X., & Zhu, L. (2010). Does economic growth leads to promotion? Using provincial data to reevaluate the promotion tournament theory. Management World, 12, 13-26. (in Chinese)

Wang, A. L. (2013). The search for sustainable legitimacy: Environmental law and bureaucracy in china. Harvard Environmental Law Review, 37, 365-440.

Wang, J., Wan, J., Wang, Q., Su, J., Yang, L., & Xiao, Y. (2018). The development of China’s ecological and environmental planning in forty years of reform and opening-up. Chinese Journal of Environmental Management, 10(6), 5-18. (in Chinese)

Wu, H., Guo, H., Zhang, B., & Bu, M. (2017). Westward movement of new polluting firms in China: Pollution reduction mandates and location choice. Journal of Comparative Economics, 45(1), 119-138.

Wu, J., Deng, Y., Huang, J., Morck, R., & Yeung, B. (2013). Incentives and outcomes: China’s environmental policy. National Bureau of Economic Research.

Yao, Y., & Zhang, M. (2015). Subnational leaders and economic growth: evidence from Chinese cities. Journal of Economic Growth, 20(4), 405-436.

Zheng, S., Kahn, M. E., Sun, W., & Luo, D. (2014). Incentives for China’s urban mayors to mitigate pollution externalities: The role of the central government and public environmentalism. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 47, 61-71.

Zhou, L. A. (2007). Governing China’s local officials: An analysis of promotion tournament model. Economic Research Journal, 7(36), 36-50. (in Chinese)




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22140/cpar.v0i0.201

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Chinese Public Administration Review (ISSN 1539-6754, Online ISSN 2573-1483)  is published by the School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University.