The role of technical progress in China’s northern and southern heating industry


Coal as the main fuel for the heating industry exerts heavy burdens on China’s environment. Based on meta-frontier non-radial distance function, this paper estimates the total-factor unified integrated efficiency of the thermoelectric industry in 29 provinces and analyzes its dynamic changes using Malmquist index. Besides, the composition of the meta-frontier Malmquist unified integrated efficiency is further evaluated to analyze the spatial-temporal features of the thermoelectric industry. The results show that the average total-factor unified integrated efficiency of the thermoelectric industry in the northern and southern China is 0.572 and 0.587, respectively, over 1999–2014. Although the total-factor unified integrated efficiency of the thermoelectric industry tends to improve, technical progress plays different role in the north and the south. Improvement in the thermoelectric industry in the north mainly relies on technical efficiency, while improvement in the south mainly relies on technical progress. Technological catch-up in both the north and south is weak.

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This paper is supported by Report Series from Ministry of Education of China (NO.10JBG013).

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Correspondence to Boqiang Lin.

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Lin, J., Lin, B. The role of technical progress in China’s northern and southern heating industry. Energy Efficiency 13, 665–682 (2020).

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  • Non-directional distance function
  • DEA
  • Total-factor dynamic unified integrated efficiency
  • Meta-frontier Malmquist index