Unintended environmental consequences of place‐based economic policies

Maoyong FAN, Qu TANG, Jianxin WU, Junji XIAO*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We examine the environmental consequences of two regional economic development (RED) policies that aimed to develop the economy of the relatively underdeveloped upper Pearl River (UPR) regions in Guangdong Province, China. Applying the triple-difference analysis to annual county-industry-level data, we find that the two RED policies caused higher growth in industries with high water pollution than in industries with less water pollution in the UPR regions. The second RED policy with environmental regulations was effective in restraining the new entry of firms in high-pollution industries into the UPR regions but failed to drive existing high-pollution firms out of the UPR regions. Firms' location decisions were driven by the more favorable tax regimes and less stringent pollution regulations in the UPR regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-315
Number of pages25
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number1
Early online date22 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Xiao acknowledges financial support from the China National Social Science Foundation (No. 18ZDA042). Wu acknowledges financial support from the China National Social Science Foundation (No. 15ZDA054) and National Natural Science Foundation (No. 71873057). The authors have equally contributed to the article as co‐first coauthors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association.


  • difference-in-difference-in-differences
  • environmental effect
  • regional economic development policy


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