IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Does China's low-carbon pilot programme really take off? Evidence from land transfer of energy-intensive industry


  • Tang, Pengcheng
  • Yang, Shuwang
  • Shen, Jun
  • Fu, Shuke


To realise the targets for controlling greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, China has issued three batches of low-carbon pilot programme since 2010. In this paper, we estimate the causal effect of the programme from the perspective of land transfer of energy-intensive industry, by using a difference-in-differences method. We also analyze the role of the local secretary, the de facto "first-in-command" official of local government. The results suggest that the pilot programme has come into play to a certain extent (a reduction of 26.271–29.158 ha’ land transfer of energy-intensive industry), but the effect attenuates quickly over time. After considering the moderating role of the secretary, the greater promotion potential (younger than 54 years old, more than the third year of time in office, and working experience in the upper level) is found to have worsened the pilot programme's effect. Therefore, the key to performing the pilot programme's function lies in enhancing the weight of the environment-related indicators in the promotion assessment system.

Suggested Citation

  • Tang, Pengcheng & Yang, Shuwang & Shen, Jun & Fu, Shuke, 2018. "Does China's low-carbon pilot programme really take off? Evidence from land transfer of energy-intensive industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 482-491.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:114:y:2018:i:c:p:482-491
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2017.12.032

    Download full text from publisher

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

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Li, Ming-Jia & Tao, Wen-Quan, 2017. "Review of methodologies and polices for evaluation of energy efficiency in high energy-consuming industry," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 203-215.
    2. Wei JIANG, 2015. "Could a Less Developed City Solve ItsCO2Emission Dilemma? Evidence from a Low Carbon Pilot City," Chinese Journal of Urban and Environmental Studies (CJUES), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(01), pages 1-20.
    3. Zhang, Yue-Jun & Da, Ya-Bin, 2015. "The decomposition of energy-related carbon emission and its decoupling with economic growth in China," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1255-1266.
    4. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-1162, December.
    5. Zheng, Siqi & Kahn, Matthew E. & Sun, Weizeng & Luo, Danglun, 2014. "Incentives for China's urban mayors to mitigate pollution externalities: The role of the central government and public environmentalism," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 61-71.
    6. Mitchell, Catherine & Connor, Peter, 2004. "Renewable energy policy in the UK 1990-2003," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(17), pages 1935-1947, November.
    7. Wang, Peng & Dai, Han-cheng & Ren, Song-yan & Zhao, Dai-qing & Masui, Toshihiko, 2015. "Achieving Copenhagen target through carbon emission trading: Economic impacts assessment in Guangdong Province of China," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 212-227.
    8. Zhaohua Wang & Chen Wang & Jianhua Yin, 2015. "Strategies for addressing climate change on the industrial level: affecting factors to CO 2 emissions of energy-intensive industries in China," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 75(2), pages 303-317, February.
    9. Martin de Jong & Dong Wang & Chang Yu, 2013. "Exploring the Relevance of the Eco-City Concept in China: The Case of Shenzhen Sino-Dutch Low Carbon City," Journal of Urban Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 95-113, January.
    10. Li, Huimin & Zhao, Xiaofan & Yu, Yuqing & Wu, Tong & Qi, Ye, 2016. "China's numerical management system for reducing national energy intensity," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 64-76.
    11. Liu, Wenling & Spaargaren, Gert & Heerink, Nico & Mol, Arthur P.J. & Wang, Can, 2013. "Energy consumption practices of rural households in north China: Basic characteristics and potential for low carbon development," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 128-138.
    12. Jin, Hehui & Qian, Yingyi & Weingast, Barry R., 2005. "Regional decentralization and fiscal incentives: Federalism, Chinese style," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1719-1742, September.
    13. Zhang, Zibin & Cai, Wenxin & Feng, Xiangzhao, 2017. "How do urban households in China respond to increasing block pricing in electricity? Evidence from a fuzzy regression discontinuity approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 161-172.
    14. Shleifer, Andrei, 1997. "Government in transition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 385-410, April.
    15. Chen, Deqiu & Li, Sifei & Xiao, Jason Zezhong & Zou, Hong, 2014. "The effect of government quality on corporate cash holdings," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 384-400.
    16. Yu, Jihai & Zhou, Li-An & Zhu, Guozhong, 2016. "Strategic interaction in political competition: Evidence from spatial effects across Chinese cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 23-37.
    17. Yufei Wang & Qijiao Song & Jijiang He & Ye Qi, 2015. "Developing low-carbon cities through pilots," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(sup1), pages 81-103, December.
    18. Fubing Su & Ran Tao & Lu Xi & Ming Li, 2012. "Local Officials' Incentives and China's Economic Growth: Tournament Thesis Reexamined and Alternative Explanatory Framework," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 20(4), pages 1-18, July.
    19. Li, Zhi & Ouyang, Xiaoling & Du, Kerui & Zhao, Yang, 2017. "Does government transparency contribute to improved eco-efficiency performance? An empirical study of 262 cities in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 79-89.
    20. Wu, Jing & Zuidema, Christian & Gugerell, Katharina & de Roo, Gert, 2017. "Mind the gap! Barriers and implementation deficiencies of energy policies at the local scale in urban China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 201-211.
    21. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 703-724, September.
    22. Olson, Mancur, 1993. "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 567-576, September.
    23. Lixiao Zhang & Yueyi Feng & Bin Chen, 2011. "Alternative Scenarios for the Development of a Low-Carbon City: A Case Study of Beijing, China," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(12), pages 1-16, December.
    24. Wu, Yan & Heerink, Nico, 2016. "Foreign direct investment, fiscal decentralization and land conflicts in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 92-107.
    25. Juan M. Villa, 2016. "diff: Simplifying the estimation of difference-in-differences treatment effects," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 16(1), pages 52-71, March.
    26. Dong, Liang & Gu, Fumei & Fujita, Tsuyoshi & Hayashi, Yoshitsugu & Gao, Jie, 2014. "Uncovering opportunity of low-carbon city promotion with industrial system innovation: Case study on industrial symbiosis projects in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 388-397.
    27. Kahrl, Fredrich & Williams, Jim & Jianhua, Ding & Junfeng, Hu, 2011. "Challenges to China's transition to a low carbon electricity system," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 4032-4041, July.
    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. Garfield Wayne Hunter & Gideon Sagoe & Daniele Vettorato & Ding Jiayu, 2019. "Sustainability of Low Carbon City Initiatives in China: A Comprehensive Literature Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(16), pages 1-37, August.
    2. Tang, Pengcheng & Yang, Shuwang & Fu, Shuke, 2018. "Do political incentive affects China's land transfer in energy-intensive industries?," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 550-559.
    3. Chun Jiang & Qiang Fu, 2019. "A Win-Win Outcome between Corporate Environmental Performance and Corporate Value: From the Perspective of Stakeholders," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(3), pages 1-18, February.
    4. Tang, Pengcheng & Yang, Shuxiang & Yang, Shuwang, 2020. "How to design corporate governance structures to enhance corporate social responsibility in China's mining state-owned enterprises?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(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:enepol:v:114:y:2018:i:c:p:482-491. 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: (Haili He). 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 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.

    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.