Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (10): 1954-1969.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201810010

• Industrial Layout and Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Environmental regulation, local protection and the spatial distribution of pollution-intensive industries in China

TIAN Guanghui1,2(),MIAO Changhong1,2(),HU Zhiqiang1,2,MIAO Jianming3   

  1. 1. Key Research Institute of Yellow River Civilization and Sustainable Development & Collaborative Innovation Center on Yellow River Civilization of Henan Province, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, Henan, China;
    2. College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, Henan, China
    3. International Education College, Kaifeng 475001, Henan, China
  • Received:2017-07-03 Online:2018-10-25 Published:2018-10-25
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41430637


Pollution-intensive industries can promote regional economic growth. They also pose a great threat to regional environmental system. Polluting industries may be protected by regional policies due to their contribution to economic growth, but the local governments may also impose some restrictions and controls on them by means of the environmental regulations. From 1980 to 2014, the development period of pollution-intensive industries in China can be divided into three stages: slow growth, rapid expansion, and structural transition. The spatial distribution of pollution industries changed from dispersal to concentration and then to decentralization. The central provinces such as Henan, Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi have become the major areas of pollution-intensive industries transfer. By establishing the regional attribute model and the regional-industrial interaction model, this paper quantitatively analyzes the influence of environmental regulation and local protection on the spatial distribution of the pollution-intensive industries in China during 2001-2014, and tests whether there exist the pollution haven hypothesis and the Porter hypothesis. Environmental regulation and local protection are important factors that influence the spatial distribution of polluting industries, but there exists obvious industrial and regional heterogeneity. Industries with a high degree of pollution are more likely to be affected by environmental regulations, and industries with high share of state ownership are more likely to be protected by local governments. Environmental regulation and local protection are two opposite forces, which have the effect of mutual inhibition and weakening. The roles of environmental regulation and local protection in coastal and inland areas have significant differences. The effect of environmental regulation is more prominent in eastern China, while that of local protection in central and western China is more significant. In order to prevent the central and western regions from being the "pollution haven" and to realize the win-win between economic growth and environmental protection, a differentiated policy should be formulated according to local conditions and the development stage.

Key words: pollution-intensive industries, environmental regulation, local protection, industrial spatial distribution