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Energy Efficiency Transitions in China: How Persistent are the Movements to/from the Frontier?

This study examines the energy efficiency transitions in China using provincial data covering the period 2003-2015. Sustainable progress in energy efficiency achievement is beneficial to energy security and the achievement of the Paris Agreement. This article combines the stochastic frontier method with the panel Markov-switching regression to model energy efficiency transitions. The estimated energy efficiency scores show significant regional and provincial heterogeneity. Also, while human capital development, urbanization, and foreign direct investment promote energy efficiency, price and income per capita reduce it. The transition probabilities indicate that the high energy-efficient state is less sustainable, and the movement towards the frontier seems less persistent than movement from the frontier. Thus, it appears that China is not making sustainable progress in energy efficiency. The unsustainable nature of the high energy-efficient state suggests that in China, there are weak energy efficiency efforts and energy efficiency policies lack robustness.

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Energy Specializations: Energy Efficiency –  Policy Issues; Energy Efficiency – Barriers to Adoption

JEL Codes: Q41: Energy: Demand and Supply; Prices, Q40: Energy: General

Keywords: Energy efficiency transitions, Panel Markov, Stochastic frontier, China

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.6.lzha

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Published in Volume 39, Number 6 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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