Dr. Heiner Mikosch - Seminar Presentation

Date and Time: April 15th, 2019, 3:00 pm - 5:00pm

Room: A 101 in the Economics Building (Museum)


This paper provides evidence on the political economy of environmental data manipulation in China. We use a unique panel data set of 111 cities between 2001 and 2010. The data set includes reported daily air pollutant concentrations as well as demographic, education and experience characteristics of city party secretaries and mayors. We develop an innovative censored MLE strategy to estimate the proportion of manipulated blue-sky days for each city/year. Then we use the LASSO shrinkage technique to find potential predictors of city-level manipulation patterns among a large set of party secretary and mayor characteristics.

We find that city party secretaries with elite undergraduate degrees are associated with 2.38 additional manipulated blue-sky days in a year. Furthermore, among elite educated party secretaries, females and those with prior research experience are associated with lower levels of manipulcation. The patterns in the data are consistent with economic growth and promotion concerns being a possible explanatoin for increased manipulation under elite educated party secretaries.

About the speaker

Junjie Zhang is Director of the Environmental Research Center and Master of Environmental Policy (iMEP) Program at Duke Kunshan University as well as an associate professor of environmental economics at Duke Kunshan University and in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. His research centers on empirical issues in environmental and resource economics.