Disruptive Events of Environmental Pollution as a Transformative Force - The Impact of Extreme Air Pollution on Policy Making in China
During the month of January 2013, Beijing suffered air pollution of unprecedented intensity. This event, which was named "Airpocalypse" in international media, was followed by vibrant media reporting and public discussion on the topic and prompted the central government to issue unusually...
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|Zusammenfassung:||During the month of January 2013, Beijing suffered air pollution of unprecedented intensity. This event, which was named "Airpocalypse" in international media, was followed by vibrant media reporting and public discussion on the topic and prompted the central government to issue unusually ambitious measures to contain air pollution more effectively. This dissertation explores the impact of the "Airpocalypse" on China's air quality governance as well as the underlying factors which caused the central government to react differently to the "Airpocalypse" compared to previous events of extreme air pollution. Based on qualitative interviews, a quantitative timeline analysis and a quantitative survey, following factors were identified to have had a significant direct or indirect influence on central government decision making during and after the "Airpocalypse": 1) Historically high levels of particulate matter concentration, 2) Improved level of publicly accessible information on particulate matter concentrations in large Chinese cities, 3) Unprecedented intensity of media reporting and public discussion on air pollution, 4) The ongoing government transition from the administration of Hu Jintao to the administration of Xi Jinping. The theoretical framework of this dissertation consists of three approaches: Focusing Events (based on Birkland 1997), Media Agenda Setting (based on McCombs and Shaw 1972) and New Institutional Economics (based on Williamson 1975). These approaches can be meaningfully combined in order to identify impactful events of pollution as well as identify and interpret their consequences in the Chinese context.|