- Student Dissertation or Thesis
China's rapid economic growth in the twenty-first century has driven, and been driven by, concomitant motorization and growth of passenger and freight mobility, leading to greater energy demand and environmental impacts. In this dissertation I develop methods to characterize the evolution of passenger transport demand in a rapidly-developing country, in order to support projection and policy assessment.
In Essay #1, I study the role that vehicle tailpipe and fuel quality standards (“emissions standards”) can play vis-a-vis economy-wide carbon pricing in reducing emissions of pollutants that lead to poor air quality. I extend a global, computable general equilibrium (CGE) model resolving 30 Chinese provinces by separating freight and passenger transport subsectors, road and non-road modes, and household-owned vehicles; and then linking energy demand in these subsectors to a province-level inventory of primary pollutant emissions and future policy targets. While climate policy yields an air quality co-benefit by inducing shifts away from dirtier fuels, this effect is weak within the transport sector. Current emissions standards can drastically reduce transportation emissions, but their overall impact is limited by transport's share in total emissions, which varies across provinces. I conclude that the two categories of measures examined are complementary, and the effectiveness of emissions standards relies on enforcement in removing older, higher-polluting vehicles from the roads.
In Essay #2, I characterize Chinese households' demand for transport by estimating the recently-developed, Exact affine Stone index (EASI) demand system on publicly-available data from non-governmental, social surveys. Flexible, EASI demands are particularly useful in China's rapidly-changing economy and transport system, because they capture ways that income elasticities of demand, and household transport budgets, vary with incomes; with population and road network densities; and with the supply of alternative transport modes. I find transport demand to be highly elastic (