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The composite impact of ICT industry on lowering carbon intensity: From the perspective of regional heterogeneity

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Journal Article

Sun, H., and G. Kim. 2021. “The Composite Impact of ICT Industry on Lowering Carbon Intensity: From the Perspective of Regional Heterogeneity.” Technology in Society 66.

The balance between low carbon development and rapid economic growth is a ‘Gordian knot’ for most countries. This study aims to explore the practicable route of lowering carbon intensity with the expansion of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) industry in China. Using the provincial panel data from 2000 to 2017, the paper employs five indicators to empirically investigate the determinant mechanism of carbon intensity based on the refined Stochastic Impact by Regression on Population, Affluence, and Technology (STIRPAT) and spatial econometric models. The findings demonstrate that the ICT industry is the main force in adjusting carbon intensity. Despite constraint by the rebound effect, the net effect of the ICT industry shows a significant positive impact on lowering carbon intensity under the consideration of spatial dependence. Furthermore, compared with developed regions, the contribution of ICT on regional inequality of carbon intensity shows a higher share in developing regions. By applying the Oaxaca-Ransom counterfactual decomposition, the results reveal that there are substantial regional gaps between multi-comparable groups. The composite effect of informatization, industrialization, and urbanization accounts for the major share of the regional gap. Thus, policymakers should pay more attention to enhancing the ICT infrastructure in developing regions, boosting the ICT-related technology investment in specific sectors, coordinating regional cooperation, and balancing the migration of skilled workers. © 2021 Elsevier Ltd

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