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The Impact of Intermediate Goods Imports on Energy Efficiency: Empirical Evidence from Chinese Cities

Yu Xiang, Jing Zheng () and Xunhua Tu
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Yu Xiang: School of Economics, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
Jing Zheng: School of Economics, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
Xunhua Tu: School of Public Finance and Taxation, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu 611130, China

IJERPH, 2022, vol. 19, issue 20, 1-23

Abstract: Improving energy efficiency is a critical way to solve energy shortage and environmental problems and achieve the goal of “double carbon”. As China expands imports and integrates into global value chains, can import trade improve energy efficiency? This topic is extremely important for solving current energy problems and promoting sustainable economic development. Based on panel data of prefecture-level cities in China, this paper uses the Super-SBM model to measure the total factor energy efficiency of cities and investigates the impact of intermediate goods imports on energy efficiency with fixed effects models and instrumental variable method (IV). The study finds that: (1) intermediate goods imports contribute to the increase of urban energy efficiency, and the mechanism test indicates that intermediate goods imports affect energy efficiency through the technology spillover effect and intermediate goods type diversification effect. (2) According to the heterogeneity analysis, the effect of intermediate goods imports on energy efficiency is more evident in eastern China and cities with low topographic relief, medium population scale, and high absorption capability. (3) Analysis of the spatial spillover effect with the SDM model shows that importing intermediate goods promotes energy efficiency in local cities and radiates energy efficiency improvement in neighboring cities.

Keywords: intermediate goods imports; sustainable development; urban characteristics; energy efficiency; mechanism of action; spatial spillover (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I I1 I3 Q Q5 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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