Open Access Journal Article

Does carbon emissions trading facilitate carbon unlocking? Empirical evidence from China

by Tianqi Wang a Yawen Sun a,* Yong Wang a,*  and  Yuhao Yang b
School of Statistics, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, Dalian, China
Department of Applied Finance, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
JES  2023, 7; 1(1), 7;
Received: 1 January 2023 / Accepted: 14 February 2023 / Published Online: 16 February 2023


Carbon emissions trading is essential for reducing carbon emissions, and its role in regional carbon unlocking needs further clarification. This study uses the difference-in-differences (DID) model and synthetic control model (SCM) to evaluate the carbon unlocking effect of China’s six pilot carbon trading provinces. This study found that (1) carbon lock-in effects in China are mainly influenced by technology lock-in and fixed input lock-in; (2) each province’s overall carbon lock-in level presents a decreasing trend yearly, and the regional distribution presents characteristics of “low in the east and high in the west”; (3) carbon emissions trading pilot policies effectively promote the carbon unlocking effect in pilot regions overall, with Guangdong having the most significant unlocking effect. Conversely, Beijing, Hubei, Chongqing, and Shanghai also had different degrees of carbon unlocking. Finally, (4) an assessment of impact mechanisms indicates that technology and institutions have a significant mediating role in effectively promoting carbon unlocking under the carbon trading policy. Conversely, social behavior has an inverse effect, and fixed assets are not affected by the policy. This study demonstrates the carbon unlocking effect of carbon emissions trading and provides a quantitative reference for implementing carbon emissions trading policies and determining carbon unlocking paths.

Copyright: © 2023 by Wang, Sun, Wang and Yang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
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ACS Style
Wang, T.; Sun, Y.; Wang, Y.; Yang, Y. Does carbon emissions trading facilitate carbon unlocking? Empirical evidence from China. Journal of Economic Statistics, 2023, 1, 7.
AMA Style
Wang T, Sun Y, Wang Y, Yang Y. Does carbon emissions trading facilitate carbon unlocking? Empirical evidence from China. Journal of Economic Statistics; 2023, 1(1):7.
Chicago/Turabian Style
Wang, Tianqi; Sun, Yawen; Wang, Yong; Yang, Yuhao 2023. "Does carbon emissions trading facilitate carbon unlocking? Empirical evidence from China" Journal of Economic Statistics 1, no.1:7.
APA style
Wang, T., Sun, Y., Wang, Y., & Yang, Y. (2023). Does carbon emissions trading facilitate carbon unlocking? Empirical evidence from China. Journal of Economic Statistics, 1(1), 7.

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