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Can agricultural growth improve environmental productivity? —an empirical test of conditional Environmental Kuznets Curve

SHEN Neng1,2 ZHANG Bin1

(1.Dongwu Business School, Soochow University)
(2.Soochow University Think Tank)

【Abstract】According to the characteristics of agricultural tri-dimensional and cross pollution and its negative impact on the degradation of China’s ecological environment, first of all, we used the GML method to measure China’s agricultural productivity with environmental factors, to explore the relationship between agricultural growth and agricultural environment from the perspective of productivity, and thus to expand the traditional Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC). Secondly, by using China’s provincial-level panel data and a variety of methods including the dynamic GMM, this paper identified the relationship between the two sides, and meanwhile used the threshold regression model to test the formation mechanism of conditional EKC. The study showed that there existed a stable U-shaped relation between agricultural growth and environmental productivity and that the agricultural EKC was generally supported in China. However, along with economic development, most areas of China were still in the down trend of environmental productivity. Moreover, the forming of the EKC should meet some conditions and had a certain threshold effect, which meant that the progress of agricultural technology played a key role in the formation of the U-shaped curve and the promotion of environmental productivity.

【Keywords】 agricultural growth; agricultural environmental productivity; technological progress; the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC);


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    [1]. ① Data source: http://news.xinhuanet.com [^Back]

    [2]. ② Data source: http:jcs.mep.gov.cn [^Back]

    [3]. ③ Data source: http://www.stats.gov.cn [^Back]

    [4]. ① The density of fertilizer input equals the ratio of chemical fertilizer to the grain yield; the density of pesticides input equals the ratio of pesticides to food production; livestock and poultry excrement equals the ratio of excrement to the grain yield. [^Back]

    [5]. ① Total-factor energy efficiency refers to the ratio of energy input to its actual input for a certain output according to the optimal state of production practice under the premises that factors except input of energy are unchanged. [^Back]

    [6]. ① Specific expressions are shown in studies by Oh (2009). [^Back]

    [7]. ② Because China’s agricultural non-point source pollution mainly includes fertilizer, pesticides, and farm wastes and the utilization rate of fertilizer is only 10%, so 90% of pesticides flow into and polluted rivers via surface and soil infiltrations. [^Back]

    [8]. ③ Due to the lack of some data on the Tibet Autonomous Region and Hainan Province, these regions are not considered in this paper [^Back]

    [9]. ④ National Bureau of Statistics (eds.). China Statistical Yearbook (2000–2012, over the years) (中国统计年鉴, 2000–2012). Beijing: China Statistics Press. [^Back]

    [10]. ⑤ Department of Rural Surveys, National Bureau of Statistics of China (eds.). China Rural Statistical Yearbook (2000–2012, over the years) (中国农村统计年鉴,2000-2012). Beijing: China Statistics Press. [^Back]

    [11]. ⑥ National Bureau of Statistics (eds.). China Statistical Yearbook on Environment (2000–2012, over the years) (中国环境计年鉴, 2000-2012). Beijing: China Statistics Press. [^Back]

    [12]. ① See regression functions 3–7 in Table 2. [^Back]

    [13]. ① The SYS-GMM can use the variables that lag several terms as instrumental variables by adding zero. [^Back]

    [14]. ② The TPR was proposed by Hansen (1999). Its principle was to incorporate a certain threshold variable into the regression model, to construct a piecewise function, and to conduct a test on the threshold effect; the threshold value and its number were given by the system endogenously. By adopting the asymptotic distribution theory, this method set the confidence interval of parameters to be estimated and estimated and tested the significance of the threshold value with the bootstrap method. [^Back]

    [15]. ① Due to the limitation of space, this paper does not provide the detailed results of the threshold effect tests. If you are interested in them, you can contact the author. [^Back]

    [16]. ① In Table 3, after the variable of agricultural technological progress is added to Regression Model 3, the threshold value of per-capita agricultural added value drops from CNY 10875 to CNY 8807. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-1262/F

Vol , No. 07, Pages 17-30

July 2015


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Literature review
  • 3 The measurement of agricultural environmental productivity
  • 4 The EKC test on agriculture
  • 5 The formation mechanism of conditional agricultural EKC
  • 6 Conclusions
  • Footnote