IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Climate policy and low-carbon innovation: Evidence from low-carbon city pilots in China


  • Pan, An
  • Zhang, Wenna
  • Shi, Xunpeng
  • Dai, Ling


The impact of China's low-carbon city pilot (LCCP) program – a climate policy applied at the city level – on low-carbon innovation has yet to be studied. The LCCP program intends to facilitate the low-carbon transformation of several of China's cities and serve as a quasi-natural experiment to determine if city-level climate policies like this can promote low-carbon innovation. Using the entropy balancing-difference in difference (EB-DID) method, this study evaluates the impact of China's LCCP program on low-carbon innovation in China's prefecture-level cities. The results show that: (1) the LCCP program significantly promotes low-carbon innovation; (2) the LCCP program more significantly impacts innovation with higher carbon reduction potential and promotes more innovation in small- and medium-sized cities; (3) innovation environment and environmental information disclosure are essential factors affecting the LCCP program's innovation effects. The study suggests that governments can improve cities' low-carbon innovation through active climate policies at the city level and through optimizing the allocation of innovation resources. The governments should also include small- and medium-sized cities in the pilot programs. To benefit from the low-carbon innovation effect of the LCCP program, they should also focus on improving the innovation environment and environmental information disclosure practices of the pilot cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Pan, An & Zhang, Wenna & Shi, Xunpeng & Dai, Ling, 2022. "Climate policy and low-carbon innovation: Evidence from low-carbon city pilots in China," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:112:y:2022:i:c:s0140988322002869
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2022.106129

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Deng, Zhongqi & Qin, Ming & Song, Shunfeng, 2020. "Re-study on Chinese city size and policy formation," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    2. Jeff L. McMullin & Bryce Schonberger, 2020. "Entropy-balanced accruals," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 84-119, March.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Leonardo Bursztyn & David Hemous, 2012. "The Environment and Directed Technical Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 131-166, February.
    4. Hainmueller, Jens, 2012. "Entropy Balancing for Causal Effects: A Multivariate Reweighting Method to Produce Balanced Samples in Observational Studies," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, January.
    5. Qimei Chen & Yan Wang & Jianhan Zhang & Zhifeng Wang, 2020. "The Knowledge Mapping of Concentrating Solar Power Development Based on Literature Analysis Technology," Energies, MDPI, vol. 13(8), pages 1-15, April.
    6. Arkadiusz Świadek & Jadwiga Gorączkowska & Karolina Godzisz, 2021. "Conditions Driving Low-Carbon Innovation in a Medium-Sized European Country That Is Catching Up–Case Study of Poland," Energies, MDPI, vol. 14(7), pages 1-17, April.
    7. Hsieh, I-Yun Lisa & Pan, Menghsuan Sam & Green, William H., 2020. "Transition to electric vehicles in China: Implications for private motorization rate and battery market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    8. Nicolas Koch & Erasmus K H J zu Ermgassen & Johanna Wehkamp & Francisco J B Oliveira Filho & Gregor Schwerhoff, 2019. "Agricultural Productivity and Forest Conservation: Evidence from the Brazilian Amazon," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 101(3), pages 919-940.
    9. Bleda, Mercedes & Chicot, Julien, 2020. "The role of public procurement in the formation of markets for innovation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 186-196.
    10. Liu, Xiaoling & Sun, Xiaohua & Li, Mingshan & Zhai, Yu, 2020. "The effects of demonstration projects on electric vehicle diffusion: An empirical study in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 139(C).
    11. David Popp, 2010. "Innovation and Climate Policy," NBER Working Papers 15673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Tu, Zhengge & Hu, Tianyang & Shen, Renjun, 2019. "Evaluating public participation impact on environmental protection and ecological efficiency in China: Evidence from PITI disclosure," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 111-123.
    13. Noailly, Joëlle, 2012. "Improving the energy efficiency of buildings: The impact of environmental policy on technological innovation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 795-806.
    14. Pianta, Silvia & Rinscheid, Adrian & Weber, Elke U., 2021. "Carbon Capture and Storage in the United States: Perceptions, preferences, and lessons for policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    15. Xie, Xuemei & Fang, Liangxiu & Zeng, Saixing, 2016. "Collaborative innovation network and knowledge transfer performance: A fsQCA approach," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5210-5215.
    16. Linnenluecke, Martina K. & Han, Jianlei & Pan, Zheyao & Smith, Tom, 2019. "How markets will drive the transition to a low carbon economy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 42-54.
    17. Kirk Bansak & Jens Hainmueller & Dominik Hangartner, 2017. "Europeans support a proportional allocation of asylum seekers," Nature Human Behaviour, Nature, vol. 1(7), pages 1-6, July.
    18. Neil Lee & Davide Luca, 2019. "The big-city bias in access to finance: evidence from firm perceptions in almost 100 countries," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 199-224.
    19. Gao, Xue & Rai, Varun, 2019. "Local demand-pull policy and energy innovation: Evidence from the solar photovoltaic market in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 364-376.
    20. Lai, Wangyang & Song, Hong & Wang, Chang & Wang, Huanhuan, 2021. "Air pollution and brain drain: Evidence from college graduates in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    21. Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A. & Raimi, Daniel, 2019. "U.S. federal government subsidies for clean energy: Design choices and implications," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 831-841.
    22. Beerepoot, Milou & Beerepoot, Niels, 2007. "Government regulation as an impetus for innovation: Evidence from energy performance regulation in the Dutch residential building sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 4812-4825, October.
    23. Chen, Zhongfei & Zhang, Xiao & Chen, Fanglin, 2021. "Do carbon emission trading schemes stimulate green innovation in enterprises? Evidence from China," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 168(C).
    24. Kostas Fragkiadakis & Panagiotis Fragkos & Leonidas Paroussos, 2020. "Low-Carbon R&D Can Boost EU Growth and Competitiveness," Energies, MDPI, vol. 13(19), pages 1-29, October.
    25. William R. Kerr, 2020. "The Gift of Global Talent: Innovation Policy and the Economy," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-37.
    26. Junming Zhu & Yichun Fan & Xinghua Deng & Lan Xue, 2019. "Low-carbon innovation induced by emissions trading in China," Nature Communications, Nature, vol. 10(1), pages 1-8, December.
    27. Chen, Jian & Wang, Lingjun & Li, Yuanyuan, 2020. "Natural resources, urbanization and regional innovation capabilities," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    28. David Popp, 2010. "Innovation and Climate Policy," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 275-298, October.
    29. Dumont, Michel, 2017. "Assessing the policy mix of public support to business R&D," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1851-1862.
    30. Nelson, Sarah & Allwood, Julian M., 2021. "The technological and social timelines of climate mitigation: Lessons from 12 past transitions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 152(C).
    31. Mo, Jian-Lei & Agnolucci, Paolo & Jiang, Mao-Rong & Fan, Ying, 2016. "The impact of Chinese carbon emission trading scheme (ETS) on low carbon energy (LCE) investment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 271-283.
    32. Ma, Liya & Niu, Dongxiao & Sun, Weizeng, 2021. "Transportation infrastructure and entrepreneurship: Evidence from high-speed railway in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lee, Chien-Chiang & Feng, Yi & Peng, Diyun, 2022. "A green path towards sustainable development: The impact of low-carbon city pilot on energy transition," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C).
    2. Jingyu Ji & Hang Lin, 2022. "Evaluating Regional Carbon Inequality and Its Dependence with Carbon Efficiency: Implications for Carbon Neutrality," Energies, MDPI, vol. 15(19), pages 1-35, September.
    3. Lin Ni & Lei Li & Xin Zhang & Huwei Wen, 2022. "Climate Policy and Foreign Direct Investment: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment in Chinese Cities," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(24), pages 1-19, December.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Giovanni Marin & Francesca Lotti, 2017. "Productivity effects of eco-innovations using data on eco-patents," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 125-148.
    2. Alessandra Colombelli & Jackie Krafft & Francesco Quatraro, 2021. "Firms’ growth, green gazelles and eco-innovation: evidence from a sample of European firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 56(4), pages 1721-1738, April.
    3. Huseynov, Samir & Palma, Marco A., 2018. "Does California’s LCFS Reduce CO2 Emissions?," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274200, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Cameron Hepburn & Jacquelyn Pless & David Popp, 2018. "Policy Brief—Encouraging Innovation that Protects Environmental Systems: Five Policy Proposals," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 12(1), pages 154-169.
    5. Raphael Calel & Antoine Dechezleprêtre, 2016. "Environmental Policy and Directed Technological Change: Evidence from the European Carbon Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(1), pages 173-191, March.
    6. Lazkano, Itziar & Pham, Linh, 2016. "Do Fossil fuel Taxes Promote Innovation in Renewable Electricity Generation?," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 16/2016, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    7. Yang, Fuxia & Yang, Mian, 2015. "Analysis on China's eco-innovations: Regulation context, intertemporal change and regional differences," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 247(3), pages 1003-1012.
    8. Sato, Misato & Singer, Gregor & Dussaux, Damien & Lovo, Stefania, 2019. "International and sectoral variation in industrial energy prices 1995–2015," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 235-258.
    9. Kempa, Karol & Moslener, Ulf, 2015. "Climate policy with the chequebook: Economic considerations on climate investment support," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 219, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    10. Buchholz Wolfgang & Heindl Peter, 2015. "Ökonomische Herausforderungen des Klimawandels," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 324-350, December.
    11. Tilmann Rave & Ursula Triebswetter & Johann Wackerbauer, 2013. "Koordination von Innovations-, Energie- und Umweltpolitik," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 61.
    12. Carolyn Fischer & Garth Heutel, 2013. "Environmental Macroeconomics: Environmental Policy, Business Cycles, and Directed Technical Change," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 197-210, June.
    13. Misato Sato & Gregor Singer & Damien Dussaux & Stefania Lovo, 2015. "International and sectoral variation in energy prices 1995-2011: how does it relate to emissions policy stringency?," GRI Working Papers 187, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    14. Nicolli, Francesco & Vona, Francesco, 2016. "Heterogeneous policies, heterogeneous technologies: The case of renewable energy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 190-204.
    15. Noailly, Joëlle & Batrakova, Svetlana, 2010. "Stimulating energy-efficient innovations in the Dutch building sector: Empirical evidence from patent counts and policy lessons," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 7803-7817, December.
    16. Liu, Jing-Yue & Zhang, Yue-Jun, 2021. "Has carbon emissions trading system promoted non-fossil energy development in China?," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 302(C).
    17. Paulo Vitor Levate & Eduardo Gonçalves & Juliana Gonçalves Taveira, 2021. "Regional drivers of green inventions in OECD countries," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 335-354, December.
    18. Edwin van der Werf & Herman R. J. Vollebergh & Johanna Vogel, 2021. "Designing Instrument Packages for the Low-Carbon Transition: An Evaluation Framework with an Application to Austria," CESifo Working Paper Series 9192, CESifo.
    19. Atkinson, Robert D. & Hackler, Darrene, 2010. "Economic Doctrines and Approaches to Climate Change Policy," MPRA Paper 29718, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Dugoua, Eugenie & Dumas, Marion, 2021. "Green product innovation in industrial networks: A theoretical model," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 107(C).


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:112:y:2022:i:c:s0140988322002869. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.