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Improving energy use and mitigating pollutant emissions across “Three Regions and Ten Urban Agglomerations”: A city-level productivity growth decomposition


Analyzing green transformation of energy use and pollutant emissions in China’s “Three Regions and Ten Urban Agglomerations” (TRTAs) allows effectively promoting sustainable development in the country. This paper applies Data Envelopment Analysis, namely the Bounded-adjusted Measure (BAM) relying on the additive structure, to measure the technical inefficiency and productivity change across TRTAs in China. The technical inefficiency and productivity change observed for TRTAs are 0.29 and 2.29% respectively. The decomposition results indicate that industrial energy consumption, industrial sulfur dioxide (SO2), and industrial soot & dust emissions are the main variables causing TRTAs’ industrial operation inefficiency. Spatially, environmental inefficiency of the above-mentioned three variables in North China Urban Agglomeration (NA) is higher than those in Northwest, Yangtze and Pearl River Delta Urban Agglomerations (NWA, YRDA, and PRDA respectively). Decomposition of the Gini coefficient shows that the performance associated with the three variables varies among the regions with intra-regional differentiation of the PRDA being the highest. Given the regional patterns in productivity change, more efforts should be directed towards improving technical progress on industrial energy conservation in NWA. Furthermore, regulations on industrial air pollutant emissions, joint mitigation and monitoring of the key indicators in PRDA should also be emphasized.


Keywords: Bounded-adjusted measure, Luenberger productivity indicator, Industrial energy consumption, Industrial air pollutant emissions, Three Regions and Ten Urban Agglomerations



Miao, Z.; Chen, X.; Baležentis, T. 2021. Improving energy use and mitigating pollutant emissions across “Three Regions and Ten Urban Agglomerations”: A city-level productivity growth decomposition. Applied Energy.  Vol. 283,  116296; ISSN: 0306-2619; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.116296; [ASFA2 – Ocean Technology, Policy and Non–Living Resources; Academic Search (EBSCO); Applied Mechanics Reviews; BMT Abstracts; Biotechnology Research Abstracts; Biotechnology and Bioengineering Abstracts; CSA Engineering Research Database (Cambridge Scientific Abstracts); CSA Sustainability Science Abstracts (Cambridge Scientific Abstracts); CSA Technology Research Database; Chemical Abstracts; Compendex; Current Abstracts (EBSCO); Current Contents; Energy & Power Source; Energy Information Abstracts; Engineering Abstracts; Engineering Index Monthly; Engineering Information Database EnCompass LIT (Elsevier); Engineering Village – GEOBASE; Environment Complete; Environment Index; Environmental Periodicals Bibliography; Environmental Sciences & Pollution Management; GeoRef; INSPEC; International Petroleum Abstracts/Offshore Abstracts; OCLC Contents Alert; Pollution Abstracts; Public Affairs Information Service Bulletin; Science Citation Index; Science Citation Index Expanded; Scopus; TOC Premier; Web of Science].


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