Ash Community Speaker Series - Different Method, Same Result: Local Air Quality Data Manipulation in China


Friday, November 22, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn Street, Suite 200N, Floor 2

Join Jesse Turiel, Ash Center China Energy Postdoctoral Fellow AY 2019-2021, for a discussion about his research on Chinese air quality reports and discrepancies in local Chinese government and U.S embassy data. Yinxian Zhang, Ash Center China Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellow AY 2019-2020, will moderate. 

Turiel's research compares hourly PM2.5 measurements from government-controlled and U.S. embassy-controlled monitoring stations in five mainland Chinese cities between January 2015 and June 2017. He uses a novel form of outlier analysis called Impulse-Indicator-Saturation (IIS) to show that, in four out of the five tested cities, government-controlled monitoring stations systematically report lower-than-expected pollution concentrations when air quality is poor. These results contrast with the findings of other recent studies, which argue that Chinese air quality data manipulation ended after a series of policy reforms beginning in 2013. His findings provide evidence that local government manipulation did not end, but rather shifted in ways that make it harder to detect via more traditional discontinuity-based analyses. These results suggest that Chinese air quality numbers, while still useful, should not be taken entirely at face value. 

Lunch will be served. 

About the Ash Community Speaker Series

The Ash Community Speaker Series features discussions with students, faculty, fellows, and alumni whose research or other academic work is supported by the Ash Center. The series is a forum to discuss new ideas, innovative work, and ongoing projects that are related to the Ash Center's mission to make the world a better place by advancing excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion.