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Assessing regional eco-efficiency from the perspective of resource, environmental and economic performance in China: A bootstrapping approach in global data envelopment analysis

Yang, Lin, Zhang, Xian
Journal of cleaner production 2018 v.173 pp. 100-111
eco-efficiency, economic performance, energy, models, pollutants, China
Eco-efficiency has been receiving increasing attention across the world. This paper proposes an extended data envelopment analysis model, which combines global benchmark technology, directional distance function and a bootstrapping approach to investigate the dynamic trends of regional eco-efficiency in China from 2003 to 2014. Moreover, a developed slacks-based measure is utilized to decompose the performance fluctuations into resource, environmental and economic efficiency. Then, the key factors responsible for the changes in eco-efficiency are explored using the global Malmquist–Luenberger index. The empirical results demonstrate an upward trend of eco-efficiency in China. During the study period this trend was high in eastern and northern areas but low in northwestern areas. However, it should be noted that some eco-efficient regions still consume much land, water and energy and emit much environmental pollutants in absolute terms. The whole of China performs well on the economic front, while resource and environmental performances are not encouraging, particularly on environmental efficiency. The eastern and northern regions have experienced the greatest advances in both resource and environmental efficiency, while the undeveloped areas have not shown much progress, which further widens the gaps between developed areas and undeveloped areas. The decomposition of productivity growth indicates that technical progress is the decisive factor in promoting China's eco-efficiency, while decreasing management level is the major obstacle hampering the improvement in eco-efficiency.