Does the low-carbon pilot cities policy make a difference to the carbon intensity reduction?

Yi-Shuai Ren, Pei-Zhi Liu, Tony Klein*, Lisa Sheenan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


The low-carbon pilot cities policy (LCPCP) aims to stimulate economic growth and ensure the attainment of greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to address climate change. China issued the LCPCP in 2010 and steadily expanded the size of its pilot zones. This study builds a quasi-natural experiment based on China's LCPCP and a difference-in-difference model employing urban carbon intensity data over a 10-year period beginning in 2007 to examine the implementation repercussions of the LCPCP. According to the findings, the LCPCP has significantly reduced the carbon intensity of pilot cities. Additionally, an analysis of heterogeneity suggests that the LCPCP is more prevalent in regions with higher concentrations of secondary industries. Moreover, the mechanism reveals that the decarbonization program reduces carbon intensity through technological innovation, particularly in eastern China. In conclusion, our findings provide strong support for the operation and promotion of China's LCPCP as well as guidance and support for China's goal of reducing carbon emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-239
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Early online date21 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Low-carbon pilot cities policy
  • Urban carbon intensity
  • Difference-in-difference model
  • China


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