This study examines how the low-carbon pilot city policy (LCPCP) affects energy efficiency from the angles of green technology innovation and upgrading industrial structure by using panel data collected from Chinese cities between 2007 and 2019. The research results include: (1) Based on the time-varying difference-in-differences method, LCPCP has significantly improved energy efficiency, while such results remain significant after replacing the method of measuring the dependent variable and testing with the placebo test and the method of PSM-DID. (2) The heterogeneity analysis shows that compared to resource-based cities (RBC), LCPCP has a greater impact in non-resource-based cities (NRBC). Compared to the Central regions (CR) and Western regions (WR), LCPCP has a stronger impact in the Eastern region (ER). (3) A mechanism inspection shows that LCPCP can promote energy efficiency through both upgrading industrial structure and green technology innovation. LCPCP is of great importance for improving energy efficiency.
- energy efficiency
- low-carbon pilot city policy
- time-varying difference-in-differences method