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Sustainable Development of China’s Industrial Economy: An Empirical Study of the Period 2001–2011

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  • Huijun Li

    () (School of Economics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China
    Division of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences, Victoria College, Victoria, TX 77901, USA)

  • Jianhua Zhang

    () (School of Economics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China)

  • Edward Osei

    () (Department of Agricultural and Consumer Sciences, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX 76401, USA)

  • Mark Yu

    () (Department of Agricultural and Consumer Sciences, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX 76401, USA)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the implications of continued industrial economic growth on environmental pollution in China in order to inform strategic policies to achieve sustainable development of the industrial sector. We calculate green total factor productivity (TFP) for each industrial sector by estimating the Global Malmquist-Luenberger (GML) index using a Slacks-based Measure Directional Distance Function (SBM-DDF). We find that the green TFP increased at an average annual rate of approximately 6% over the 11-year period. A slightly greater portion of this growth is attributable to technological progress (57%) rather than technical efficiency (43%). To investigate the relationship between industrial economic growth and pollutant levels, we first adopt a hierarchical clustering procedure to group all industrial sectors into green-intensive, intermediate and extensive clusters based on the contribution of green TFP to industrial economic growth within respective industries. Based on an econometric estimation of the relationship between pollutant levels and industrial GDP per capita, we find clear evidence in favor of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) theory only with wastewater as the primary pollutant of interest and only with industrial sectors that are already relatively pollution intensive. We find no evidence in support of the EKC theory when sulfur dioxide or solid waste is the pollutant of major concern. In general, blindly accelerating industrial economic growth will likely worsen environmental quality, unless reasonable environmental policy interventions are implemented.

Suggested Citation

  • Huijun Li & Jianhua Zhang & Edward Osei & Mark Yu, 2018. "Sustainable Development of China’s Industrial Economy: An Empirical Study of the Period 2001–2011," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(3), pages 1-18, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:3:p:764-:d:135699
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Xi Qin & Xiaoling Wang & Yusen Xu & Yawen Wei, 2019. "Exploring Driving Forces of Green Growth: Empirical Analysis on China’s Iron and Steel Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(4), pages 1-11, February.
    2. Gang Liu & Pengfei Shi & Feng Hai & Yi Zhang & Xingming Li, 2018. "Study on Measurement of Green Productivity of Tourism in the Yangtze River Economic Zone, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(8), pages 1-17, August.
    3. Jiawei Wu & Yehua Dennis Wei & Qizhai Li & Feng Yuan, 2018. "Economic Transition and Changing Location of Manufacturing Industry in China: A Study of the Yangtze River Delta," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(8), pages 1-28, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    environmental kuznets curve; industrial sectors; environmental pollution; green total factor productivity; industrial economic growth; sustainable development; slacks-based; directional distance function;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • 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
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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