Global Economics Monthly: China: Reform is in the Air?
February 26, 2014
Two Chinese think tanks recently declared Beijing “nearly uninhabitable” due to air pollution, the latest in a string of highprofile reports on the capital’s smoggy skies. High concentrations of airborne particulate now routinely produce choking haze and grounded flights along China’s coast, and the country’s bad air has been shown to cause pollution spikes as far off as California. But the realities of China’s political economy are likely to frustrate even dedicated efforts to clean up the air for some time to come. To bring the blue back to Beijing’s skies, top leaders, as part of their overall economic reform efforts, will need to change the incentives facing local officials and encourage a shift away from rapid, industry-led growth and toward a more sustainable development model.