Discussion Paper

Fiscal Incentives and Environmental Infrastructure in China

Sep 21, 2012 | Antung Anthony Liu, Junjie Zhang

Abstract

This paper provides evidence that China's system of tax revenue sharing is an important explanation for differences in the rate of sewage treatment plant construction among its cities. As a result of the 1994 tax reform, Chinese cities retained different shares of their value-added tax (VAT). Exploiting the persistence of this sharing system, we use the VAT share in 1995 as an instrument for the present fiscal incentives. We find that a 10 percentage point increase in the VAT sharing rate resulted in a 13.8% increase in the construction of sewage treatment capacity. This result suggests that fiscal incentives can play an important role in the provision of pollution-reducing infrastructure.