By Beth Main
A recent study has shown that party officials who focus on the environment are less likely to be promoted than those who focus on economic development.
The study found that: “A city government’s spending on environmental improvements is actually significantly negatively related to the odds of its [Communist party] secretary and mayor being promoted.”
The study was conducted by five economists from China, Singapore and Canada: professors Wu Jing, Deng Yongheng, Huang Jun, Randall Morck, and Bernard Yeung. In numerical terms every 0.36 percent of local GDP spent on the environment lowers the chance of promotion by 8.5 percent.
This revelation comes in the wake of some of the worst air pollution China’s cities have ever seen. Spending on the environment significantly dropped in China’s cities between 2000 and 2009 and Chinese records on all areas of pollution control are dismal.
Prior to this study, it was commonly speculated that ambitious officials do not focus on the environment so as not to offend their predecessors and because any benefits will fall to their successors. Public opinion is turning against officials who drag their heels on protecting the environment, especially with the damage done by pollution increasingly in the media after recent admissions regarding so-called ‘cancer villages‘.