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The Impact of the Digital Economy on Regional Carbon Emissions: Evidence from China

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Journal Article

Chen, Menggen, Songyangyang Zhao, and Jiawen Wang. 2023. “The Impact of the Digital Economy on Regional Carbon Emissions: Evidence from China.” Sustainability 15 (20): 14863. https://doi.org/10.3390/su152014863.

As a high-tech, energy-efficient mode of economic development, the digital economy has a strong impact on regional carbon emissions and sustainable development. With a sample of panel data from 30 provinces in China ranging from 2011 to 2021, this study employs an expanded STIRPAT model to examine the impact of the digital economy on regional carbon emissions. The results reveal that the digital economy significantly inhibits regional carbon emissions, and specifically, a 1% increase in the level of digital economy development leads to a decline of approximately 1.09% in total carbon emissions. The heterogeneity analysis indicates that the digital economy has a more significant inhibitory effect on carbon emissions in the eastern region and areas with a higher level of development of the digital economy. The mechanism analysis shows that the digital economy can inhibit regional carbon emissions by affecting energy efficiency and changing the energy structure. A further study shows that the digital economy has a spatial spillover effect on the reduction in carbon emissions. Therefore, the government should fully leverage the potential of the digital economy to promote carbon emission reduction, promote the development and innovation of carbon emission reduction technology, continuously improve energy utilization efficiency, and achieve the mutually beneficial goal of economic benefits and emission reduction.

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