Other Titles



This dissertation consists of empirical analyses of three important issues related to food and energy economics and policy in China. The first issue – food safety – is a major global public health issue. In Food Safety and Restaurant Food (Chapter 1), we analyze the effects of a media and policy event regarding food safety on the supply and demand for restaurant food. The food safety-related event we examine is a media and policy event regarding the discovery by China’s customs of “Zombie meat” – meat that has been frozen for decades and is therefore beyond its expiration date – being smuggled into China in June 2015. We apply a regression discontinuity approach to a unique daily spatially-disaggregated order-level restaurant dataset of 1.6 million dining orders of 1,215 different dishes placed in 58 restaurants across multiple cities in China. Results suggest that customers who ordered meat dishes following the Zombie meat event tended to order more expensive meat dishes, perhaps because they viewed these more expensive dishes as having higher quality and more fresh meat. We supplement our analysis with an empirical model of consumer demand, and similarly find that after the Zombie meat event, consumers in Beijing and Tianjin were more likely to buy more expensive pork dishes. Our results suggest that a possible means by which restaurants can weather food safety crises is to offer high quality dishes and to establish and maintain a reputation for quality.The second important issue is the effect of environmental policies on productivity and profits. Critics of environmental policies often claim that such policies decrease productivity and profits. The effects of environmental policies on productivity, GDP, output, and profits is in part an empirical question, however, and may vary by firm, industry, sector, and type of policy. The Effects of Environmental Policies in China on GDP, Output, and Profits (Chapter 2) examines the effects of environmental policies in China on GDP, industrial output, and new energy sector profits using province-level panel data over the period 2002 to 2013. Our econometric method employs instruments to address the potential endogeneity of the policies. We find that policies involving financial incentives or monetary awards have the potential of increasing the output and/or profits in some energy-related industries or sectors, but potentially at the cost of GDP in non-energy industries or sectors. In contrast, command and control policies and non-monetary awards appear to decrease GDP, output, and/or profits. The third important issue is the effect of energy-related policies on energy consumption. The effects of energy-related policies on energy consumption in China (Chapter 3) examines the effects of different types of energy-related policies on different types of energy consumption in China. We collect and construct a novel, comprehensive, and detailed data set on province-level energy-related policies that includes specific types of energy-related command and control policies; financial incentives; awards; intellectual property rights; and education and information policies. Our econometric method employs instruments to address the potential endogeneity of the policies. According to our results, some types of energy-related policies have been effective in reducing energy consumption. However, many other policies have the possibly unintended or even perverse consequence of increasing rather than decreasing energy consumption. Our results on the mixed effectiveness of energy-related policies in China in reducing energy consumption have important implications for the design of energy-related policies in China and elsewhere.

Journal / Series

Volume & Issue


336 pages


Date Issued




China; Demand & Supply; Energy & Environment; Food Safety; Policy; Restaurant Food


Effective Date

Expiration Date




Union Local


Number of Workers

Committee Chair

Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia

Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member

Gomez, Miguel I.
Adalja, Aaron Ashok

Degree Discipline

Applied Economics and Management

Degree Name

Ph. D., Applied Economics and Management

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

Related Version

Related DOI

Related To

Related Part

Based on Related Item

Has Other Format(s)

Part of Related Item

Related To

Related Publication(s)

Link(s) to Related Publication(s)


Link(s) to Reference(s)

Previously Published As

Government Document




Other Identifiers


Rights URI


dissertation or thesis

Accessibility Feature

Accessibility Hazard

Accessibility Summary

Link(s) to Catalog Record