On June 11th, 2015, Dr. Jingjing Ye from Research Institute of Economics and Management at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics visited our School and Gave a talk titled "Driving Restriction, Air Pollution, and Adaption".
Driving restriction policy (DRP) has been adopted worldwide to curb traffic congestion and air pollution. However, the empirical evidence on its effectiveness in improving air quality is still mixed (e.g. Davis 2008 and Lin et al 2011). One possible reason is that individuals may ultimately adapt driving pattern to the restricted driving schedule. This paper addresses this possibility based on hourly measures of air pollutants from monitoring stations at Nanchang, where its existing plate-number based DRP has recently been upgraded to emission based DRP.
Across all pollutants, we find strong and consistent evidence of improved air quality before and after the announcement of such policy change. Nevertheless, the effect disappears after the policy is implemented, because agent anticipates and alters behavior prior to actual treatment. Results suggest that adaptation may occur not only by adjusting travel time using existing high emission vehicles, but also through upgrading to low emission vehicles.