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Malmquist index measurement for sustainability enhancement in Chinese municipalities and provinces

Toshiyuki Sueyoshi, Mika Goto and Derek Wang

Energy Economics, 2017, vol. 67, issue C, 554-571

Abstract: This study discusses a use of DEA environmental assessment in a time horizon. We use a radial approach to examine a dynamic change of index measures related to China's regional development and industrial pollution prevention. In applying the proposed assessment to a time-series data, we need to examine components that produce a shift of an efficiency frontier in a time horizon. A unique feature of the proposed assessment is that it incorporates a framework of Malmquist index to examine the frontier shift among multiple periods. Here, the frontier shift indicates a progress potential on technology development and/or managerial improvement among observed periods. Thus, it is not an efficiency measure. Rather, the measurement eliminates inefficiency by shifting an organization to an efficiency frontier. In this study, the index is conceptually separated into 6 subcomponents, which are further disaggregated into 12 different elements (6 subcomponents×2 disposability concepts) under natural and managerial disposability concepts. The proposed index measurement needs to consider a possible occurrence of a frontier crossover among different periods because technology diffusion on production activities usually has a time lag until it becomes really effective. Methodologically, this study conveys the message that DEA is an approximation method, so being not perfect. Therefore, it is necessary for us to use several different approaches (e.g., potential improvement by measuring a frontier shift and efficiency analysis) to obtain reliable empirical evidence. As an application, this study examines the level of sustainability related to 30 municipalities and provinces in China from 2003 to 2014. The following six policy implications are obtained in this study. First, all municipalities and provinces have made a considerable progress on their economies and pollution prevention efforts. Second, the effect of the frontier crossover is limited in China because they attain a high level of their potentials on economic development and pollution prevention. Of course, this effort is within the Chinese boundary, not international, because this study does not compare them with other industrial nations. Third, China needs to allocate its resources to western provinces at a level that it has used for coastal developments. Fourth, the government should reinforce efforts on environmental protection in central and southern regions. Fifth, the government has focused on the sustainability development in urban municipalities and provinces and then has gradually shifted the policy influence toward rural areas. Finally, different empirical results are confirmed by the potential analysis which consists of the Malmquist index measurement and the efficiency analysis. Both approaches need to be examined for future planning on Chinese regional development.

Keywords: Malmquist index; Sustainability; DEA environmental assessment; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C18 C61 Q54 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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