Can low-carbon city construction facilitate green growth? Evidence from China's pilot low-carbon city initiative

Jinhua Cheng, Jiahui Yi*, Sheng Dai, Yan Xiong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Faced with the predicament of sustainable development in traditional cities, the low-carbon city, as a novel urban development mode, provides a feasible idea for resolving the tensions among urban development, resource conservation and environmental protection. Using prefecture-level panel data during 2007-2016, we adopt the difference-in-differences model to explore the impact of low-carbon city construction on green growth. Afterward, we estimate the heterogeneity of economic environmental effects on cities, and those effects are attributed to different scales and locations. The robustness tests reveal that low-carbon pilot cities significantly and continuously benefit in terms of the green total factor productivity through technical effects being partly transformed into green technical progress and structural effects. Additionally, the construction of low-carbon cities has scale economy and regional differences. Cities with larger scales, more complete infrastructure and better foundations for technology have more significantly positive effects on green growth. These findings also apply to cities in similar developing countries seeking to achieve economic transformation and green growth. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-1170
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Low-carbon city construction
  • Green total factor productivity
  • Green growth
  • Scale and location heterogeneity
  • Pilot city

Cite this