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Political Incentives for Local Officials and the Diffusion of River Chief System: From the Perspective of Officials' Age

【Authors】
?JIN Gang, SHEN Kunrong
【WorkUnit】
Nanjing University, 210093.
【Abstract】

?Previous studies find that the current environmental governance in China has little effect mainly because local governments are passive in implementing the environmental policy while neglecting their own initiative in environmental regulation. It is of great significance to explore the internal mechanism of the diffusion of local autonomous environmental regulation to improve the effect of environmental governance. Based on the River Chief System, a local autonomous practice to combat water pollution, this paper studies the relationship between incentives for officials and the diffusion of River Chief System from the perspective of officials' age by matching River Chief System diffusion data, prefectural officials' data and water quality monitoring data. The results show that there is a positive relationship between officials' age and the diffusion of River Chief System. The older the official is, the less the probability of promotion and the less of the marginal returns of pollution, but in the context of the central government's strengthening the accountability of environmental incidents, the older local officials are more motivated to promote the River Chief System in order to avoid the potential penalty costs. The conclusion still holds after considering a series of robustness tests and possible competitive explanations. The results show that increasing the weight of environmental indicators in the official promotion assessment and normalizing environmental accountability is the silver bullet to solve local environmental governance problems.
 
JEL: Q58, Q53, O13

【KeyWords】
Incentives for Officials, Officials' Age, River Chief System, Water Pollution?