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Measuring Environmental Performance of Provincial Thermal Power Plants in China: A Malmquist DEA Approach with Fixed-Sum Undesirable Outputs

HOU Wenhui, ZHENG Yunwen, LIANG Liang, LI Yongjun   

  1. School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China
  • Received:2020-03-20 Revised:2021-10-04 Online:2022-08-25 Published:2022-08-02
  • Contact: LI Yongjun,Email:lionli@ustc.edu.cn
  • Supported by:
    This paper was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant Nos. 72071192, 71671172, and the Anhui Provincial Quality Engineering Teaching and Research Project under Grant No. 2020jyxm2279, and the Anhui University and Enterprise Cooperation Practice Education Base Project under Grant No. 2019sjjd02, and Teaching and Research Project of USTC (2019xjyxm019, 2020ycjg08), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (WK2040000027).

HOU Wenhui, ZHENG Yunwen, LIANG Liang, LI Yongjun. Measuring Environmental Performance of Provincial Thermal Power Plants in China: A Malmquist DEA Approach with Fixed-Sum Undesirable Outputs[J]. Journal of Systems Science and Complexity, 2022, 35(4): 1201-1224.

With the development of China's economy, environmental pollution has become cumulatively serious. The primary source of environmental pollution is thermal power generation, which has attracted the attention of governments and academia in recent years. To effectively reduce environmental pollution, research should study how to constrain the undesirable output of thermal power plants, that is, to limit the total undesirable output of the plants to a certain fixed sum. However, few studies have suggested that these undesirable outputs should be fixed-sum outputs. Moreover, no previous research publication about thermal power plants has analyzed their environmental performance changes. To address these gaps, a novel Malmquist-DEA approach is proposed for evaluate the environmental performance of thermal power plants in this paper. This approach generalizes the equilibrium efficient frontier DEA model with fixed-sum undesirable outputs and incorporates the model into the Malmquist productivity index (MPI). The authors apply this approach to the analysis of provincial thermal power plant environmental performance in China and analyze such plants' trends based on panel data from 2011 to 2014. The empirical research shows that the environmental performance of regional thermal power plants was positively affected by efficiency change and negatively affected by technical change. Finally, the authors provide policy suggestions based on our findings.
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