Does digital economy curb carbon intensity? New insights from China
China is in the period of vigorously developing the “digital economy” and “low-carbon economy,” facing the double pressure of realizing the “dual-carbon” target and maintaining stable economic growth. This paper tests the role of the digital economy (DIEC) in the process of carbon emission reduction for the advancement of low carbon economy based on this issue from the perspective of carbon intensity (CI) by constructing a fixed effects and mediation effects model using data from 30 areas from 2011 to 2021. The study results show that at the national level, the advancement of DIEC significantly inhibits CI, and the conclusion still holds after various robustness tests. From the geographic region level, the suppression of CI by digital economic advancement has the most substantial impact in the central region. Although the eastern and western areas have similar results, the significance level is higher in the east region. When considering the economic development level, the impact of DIEC on CI is more significant in areas with lower economic development than those with higher economic growth. In analyzing the path of the DIEC affecting CI, it is found that the DIEC mainly inhibits CI by promoting technological advancement and reducing energy consumption intensity.
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