The comprehensive environmental efficiency of socioeconomic sectors in China: An analysis based on a non-separable bad output SBM

Qi He, Ji Han, Dabo Guan, Zhifu Mi, Hongyan Zhao, Qiang Zhang

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The increasingly high frequency of heavy air pollution in most regions of China signals the urgent need for the transition to an environmentally friendly production performance by socioeconomic sectors for the sake of people's health and sustainable development. Focusing on CO2 and major air pollutants, this paper presents a comprehensive environmental efficiency index based on evaluating the environmental efficiency of major socioeconomic sectors, including agriculture, power, industry, residential and transportation, at the province level in China in 2010 based on a slack-based measure DEA model with non-separable bad output and weights determined by the coefficient of variation method. In terms of the environment, 5, 16, 6, 7 and 4 provinces operated along the production frontier for the agricultural, power, industrial, residential and transportation sectors, respectively, in China in 2010, whereas Shanxi, Heilongjiang, Ningxia, Hubei and Yunnan showed lowest efficiency correspondingly. The comprehensive environmental efficiency index varied from 0.3863 to 0.9261 for 30 provinces in China, with a nationwide average of 0.6383 in 2010; Shanghai ranked at the top, and Shanxi was last. Regional disparities in environmental efficiency were identified. A more detailed inefficiency decomposition and benchmarking analysis provided insight for understanding the source of comprehensive environmental inefficiency and, more specifically, the reduction potential for CO2 and air pollutants. Some specific research and policy implications were uncovered from this work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1110
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date1 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Environmental efficiency
  • Air pollutants
  • Socioeconomic sectors
  • Data envelop analysis
  • Slack-based model
  • China

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