Lotteries vs. Auctions: China’s Experiments in Managing Automobile Growth

TitleLotteries vs. Auctions: China’s Experiments in Managing Automobile Growth
Publication TypeNewspaper Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsDavid Block-Schachter, Jinhua Zhao
NewspaperAsia Pacific Memo
Start Page4 April 2015
KeywordsCars, Congestion, Environment, Growth, Hukou, License, Markets, Middle Class, Pollution

The astronomical growth in the number of private cars in China has led to very visible environmental crises and congestion. But the nationwide increase conceals crucial policy differences between cities that influence effectiveness, revenue, efficiency, equity and public acceptance.  While Shanghai and Beijing each had approximately 2 million motor vehicles in 2004, by 2010 Beijing had 4.8 million versus Shanghai’s 3.1 million.  By 2011, 38% of Beijing households were vehicle owners in contrast to 18% in Shanghai.  Two decades ago Shanghai opted for a monthly license auction to control vehicle ownership, while Beijing had few controls over usage or ownership until the run up to the 2008 Olympics