Management Practices and Climate Policy in China

Guest Profile

Dr. Shen received her bachelor degree from Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology in 2008, master degree from Tongji University in 2011. She received her Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales Australia in 2015. She is an Assistant Professor, PI of Economics at the School of Entrepreneurship and Management in ShanghaiTech University since September 2015.


Cap-and-trade program for CO2 emissions are being considered by governments worldwide to address the climate change challenge. The success of such a market-based climate policy at minimizing overall abatement cost and fostering low-carbon investment and innovation depends on participants fully understanding the trade-offs between using, selling or banking a permit. This paper provides the first empirical evidence on how management quality moderates responses to carbon pricing, by focusing on firms that participated in two of Chinas regional pilot emissions trading schemes (ETS), located in the city of Beijing and Hubei province. We collect new data by interviewing plant managers or lead engineers at 216 randomly selected firms, and combine them with financial, patent and energy consumption data for each firm. First we find, as in similar studies for other countries, that well-managed firms have on average higher productivity. In addition, low-carbon innovation measures elicited from managers are strongly positively associated with green patenting. These results strengthen the credibility of our interview data. Second, we investigate whether carbon trading affects energy use of regulated firms. We estimate that the launch of the pilot ETS in Beijing has reduced consumption of coal and electricity by treated firms relative to control firms, but this effect is statistically significant only for well-managed firms. Our estimates imply that the overall reduction in coal use following the introduction of the pilot ETS would have been four times smaller if firms with above-median managers had been managed by below-median managers.