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Can China's Energy Intensity Constraint Policy Promote Total Factor Energy Efficiency? Evidence from the Industrial Sector

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As part of the country's efforts to achieve green development, China implemented a mandatory energy intensity reduction target in its 11th "Five-Year Plan (FYP)" in 2006, and then began to roll out a series of relevant measures. However, existing studies have paid little attention to the actual effects of China's energy intensity constraint policy (EICP). In this paper, using panel data from China's 36 industrial sub-sectors covering the years from 2001 to 2014, we adopt the difference-in-differences (DID) method to investigate for the first time the EICP's (marginal) effect on total factor energy efficiency growth (TFEEG). We also estimate the superposition effect caused by the introduction of a carbon intensity constraint policy (CICP) on TFEEG, through the difference-in-difference-in-differences (DDD) strategy. Finally, using counterfactual, re-grouping and quasi-DID analyses, we conduct a series of robustness tests of the empirical results. The results show that the TFEEG in China's industrial sector experienced an overall declining trend between 2001 and 2014. The implementation of the EICP has had a significantly negative effect on the improvement of the TFEEG of sub-sectors with higher levels of energy intensity. After the implementation of the EICP, the TFEEG rate of these sub-sectors declined by 4.31%, compared to the rate of the other sub-sectors. The results of a series of robustness tests indicate that such a negative effect is credible. The marginal effect in the first two years after the implementation of the EICP was significantly negative, while the superposition effect of the introduction of a CICP on industrial TFEEG remained negative. Thus, the Chinese government should reinforce the implementation of energy-saving policies by introducing additional market-oriented auxiliary policies to propel the green development transformation of China's industrial sector.

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Keywords: Energy intensity constraint policy, Total factor energy efficiency, Industrial sector, Stochastic frontier analysis, Difference-in-differences model, China

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.4.ssha

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Published in Volume 40, Number 4 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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