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Effects of environmental policy on consumption: lessons from the Chinese plastic bag regulation

  • Haoran He (a1)


To reduce plastic bag litter, China introduced a nationwide regulation requiring all retailers to charge for plastic shopping bags on 1 June 2008. By using the policy implementation as a natural experiment and collecting individual-level data before and after the implementation, we investigate the impacts of the regulation on consumers’ bag use. We find that the regulation implementation caused a 49 per cent reduction in the use of new bags. Besides regulation enforcement, consumers’ attitude toward the regulation and some consumers’ socioeconomic characteristics also affected bag consumption. However, the regulation effects differ largely among consumer groups and among regions and shopping occasions.



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