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Factors influencing energy intensity in four Chinese industries

  • Fisher-Vanden, Karen
  • Hu, Yong
  • Jefferson, Gary
  • Rock, Michael
  • Toman, Michael

Energy intensity has declined significantly in four Chinese industries -- pulp and paper; cement; iron and steel; and aluminum. While previous studies have identified technological change within an industry to be an important influence on energy intensity, few have examined how industry-specific policies and market factors also affect industry-level intensity. This paper employs unique firm-level data from China's most energy-intensive large and medium-size industrial enterprises in each of these four industries over a six-year period from 1999 to 2004. It empirically examines how China's energy-saving programs, liberalization of domestic markets, openness to the world economy, and other policies, contribute to the decline in energy intensity in these industries. The results suggest that rising energy costs are a significant contributor to the decline in energy intensity in all four industries. China's industrial policies targeting scale economies -- for example,"grasping the large, letting go off the small"-- also seem to have contributed to reductions in energy intensity in these four industries. However, the results also suggest that trade openness and technology development led to declines in energy intensity in only one or two of these industries. Finally, the analysis finds that energy intensities vary among firms with different ownership types and regional locations.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6551.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6551
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  1. Fisher-Vanden, Karen, 2009. "Energy in China: Understanding Past Trends and Future Directions," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 3(3), pages 217-244, December.
  2. Fan, Ying & Liao, Hua & Wei, Yi-Ming, 2007. "Can market oriented economic reforms contribute to energy efficiency improvement? Evidence from China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 2287-2295, April.
  3. Wei, Yi-Ming & Liao, Hua & Fan, Ying, 2007. "An empirical analysis of energy efficiency in China's iron and steel sector," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 32(12), pages 2262-2270.
  4. Chunbo Ma & David I. Stern, 2006. "China's Changing Energy Intensity Trend: A Decomposition Analysis," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0615, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
  5. Michael T. Rock, 2012. "What can Indonesia learn from China's industrial energy saving programs?," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(1), pages 33-55, April.
  6. Sinton, Jonathan E & Levine, Mark D & Qingyi, Wang, 1998. "Energy efficiency in China: accomplishments and challenges," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(11), pages 813-829, September.
  7. Mielnik, Otavio & Goldemberg, Jose, 2002. "Foreign direct investment and decoupling between energy and gross domestic product in developing countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 87-89, January.
  8. Richard F. Garbaccio & Mun S. Ho & Dale W. Jorgenson, 1999. "Why Has the Energy-Output Ratio Fallen in China?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 63-91.
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