The impacts of governmental performance assessment policy and citizen participation on improving environmental performance across Chinese provinces
Abstract Although existing studies have paid a great deal of attention to the impact of government policy instruments on environmental governance, they failed to explore the relationships and differential effects of major government instruments on environmental performance. In this study, the panel data of 31 Chinese provinces over the 2004–2015 are utilized to investigate the impacts of performance assessment and public participation on environmental performance. Statistical data of four kinds of pollutants emissions were used to measure environmental performance. We collected the performance assessment data from China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau, and the official statistical yearbook data of petitions and environmental non-governmental organizations were used to measure public participation. We empirically confirm that performance assessment is only significantly correlated with binding high-visibility environmental pollutant emissions (e.g., sulfur dioxide), while it exhibits less influence on low-visibility binding environmental pollutant emissions (e.g., chemical oxygen demand). Public participation has differential effects on environmental performance. Environmental petitions are significantly correlated with non-binding environmental pollutants (e.g., industrial wastewater). However, environmental non-governmental organizations do not exhibit statistically significant effects on environmental pollutant emissions. Compared with the 11th Five-Year Plan, the environmental performance assessment in 12th Five-Year Plan is more effective. This analysis implies that China should optimize the governmental approach both for the performance assessment and public participation to respond effectively to environmental pollution. Highlights Two different environmental governance mechanisms in Chinese context are summarized. The impacts of performance assessment and public participation on environmental performance are empirically explored. Policy implications are proposed based on goal setting, transparency and public communication in environmental governance.
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