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Promotion of environmental regulation on the decoupling of marine economic growth from marine environmental pollution—based on interprovincial data in China

Fang Ye, Yixiong He, Yang Yi, Yongbo Quan and Yuncheng Deng

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2022, vol. 65, issue 8, 1456-1482

Abstract: As an important factor of global marine economic development, high-quality marine economic development depends on the important role played by environmental regulations in dealing with the relationship between marine economic growth and the reduction of marine environmental pollution. The Tapio decoupling model is used in this study to analyze the impact mechanism of environmental regulations on the decoupling between marine economic growth and marine environmental pollution (referred to as ‘marine environment decoupling’). The results of the Tapio decoupling model demonstrate that China's marine economy has experienced fluctuations of ‘growth connection’—‘weak decoupling’—‘negative decoupling of expansion’—‘strong decoupling’—followed by ‘growth connection’. The marine economy is gradually decoupling from marine pollution. The dynamic panel model results show that environmental regulation is nonlinearly related to the marine environment decoupling in a ‘U’ shape, and technological innovation and industrial structures have a ‘U’-shaped regulating effect on the impact of environmental regulation on the marine environment decoupling. Furthermore, market-incentive and social-supervision environmental regulations can promote the marine environment decoupling. The three types of environmental regulations are ranked as follows: ‘market-incentive environmental regulations > social-supervision environmental regulations > command environmental regulations’ according to their clearly observable and varied roles. For these three major areas, environmental regulations are nonlinearly related to marine environment decoupling in the Pan-Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta, and linearly related to that of Bohai Bay. The results provide valuable references for understanding marine environment decoupling drivers and developing high-quality marine economy by considering the role of environmental regulations.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2021.1932771

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