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Technical and environmental efficiency of livestock farms in China: A slacks-based DEA approach


  • Kuhn, Lena
  • Balezentis, Tomas
  • Hou, Lingling
  • Wang, Dan


In the wake of economic development and raised living standards, Chinese pork consumption has risen significantly. As a response to the increased demand and active government support, the national hog sector, which was traditionally dominated by small backyard farms, is featuring a quick restructuring towards large-scale breeding enterprises. With the transformation of the hog sector, environmental externalities have become a very serious concern. Foremost non-point source pollution resulting from the leakage of pig waste into surface water and groundwater resources is seen as a serious threat. Via data envelopment analysis (DEA), we approach the question of efficiency gains from both technical and environmental perspective along a 2012 sample of 371 Chinese hog farms. Our results suggest that especially mid-size hog farms in transition face low environmental efficiency and high pollution abatement costs due to limited waste disposal options. Existent policies turn out to be yet hardly effective in decreasing environmental externalities. In some provinces, projects for rural biogas production could help to improve waste management. However, especially small farms require state support towards improving storage and transportations facilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Kuhn, Lena & Balezentis, Tomas & Hou, Lingling & Wang, Dan, 2020. "Technical and environmental efficiency of livestock farms in China: A slacks-based DEA approach," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:62:y:2020:i:c:s1043951x18301093
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2018.08.009

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anastasia Salnikova & Yuri Chepurko & Nadezhda Starkova & Hi?n Nguy?n Hoàng, 2019. "External Effects of Renewable Energy Projects: Life Cycle Analysis-based Approach," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 9(4), pages 256-262.
    2. Li Li & Atsushi Tsunekawa & Yangshangyu Zuo & Atsushi Koike, 2019. "Conservation Payments and Technical Efficiency of farm Households Participating in the Grain for Green Program on the Loess Plateau of China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(16), pages 1-16, August.
    3. Zhou, Sheng & Xu, Zhiwei, 2022. "Energy efficiency assessment of RCEP member states: A three-stage slack based measurement DEA with undesirable outputs," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 253(C).
    4. Kuhn, L. & Hou, L. & Chen, X. & Huang, J., 2018. "Agricultural machinery for cleaner air An analysis of the effectiveness of three policy measures for reducing residue burning in Northern China," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277374, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Ruishi Si & Xueqian Zhang & Yumeng Yao & Qian Lu, 2022. "Risk Preference, Health Risk Perception, and Environmental Exposure Nexus: Evidence from Rural Women as Pig Breeders, China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 151-178, July.
    6. Michael Delgado & Meilin Ma & H. Holly Wang, 2021. "Exploring Spatial Price Relationships: The Case of African Swine Fever in China," NBER Chapters, in: Risks in Agricultural Supply Chains, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item


    Technical efficiency; Environmental efficiency; DEA; Slack-based measure; Livestock sector; Hog; China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products


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