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Does Urban Sprawl Inhibit Urban Eco-Efficiency? Empirical Studies of Super-Efficiency and Threshold Regression Models

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School of Economics and Management, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
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State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100094, China
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Institute of Agricultural Economy and Development, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5598; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205598 (registering DOI)
Received: 27 August 2019 / Revised: 22 September 2019 / Accepted: 8 October 2019 / Published: 11 October 2019
With rapid urbanization in China, the phenomenon of urban sprawl has become prominent and has severely challenged sustainable urbanization and ecological civilization. Aiming to understand the impact of urban sprawl on the urban environment, this study calculates the eco-efficiency of 264 prefecture-level cities in China from 2003 to 2016 by using a super-efficiency data envelopment analysis model. Then, we establish a panel Tobit model and threshold regression model to empirically test the impact of urban sprawl on eco-efficiency and the threshold effect of the urban scale. The results show that urban sprawl hinders the improvement of urban eco-efficiency, especially in Eastern China, but relatively weak or even insignificant effects are observed in Central and Western China. Additionally, a threshold effect of urban sprawl on eco-efficiency can be found. When the city scale is small, urban sprawl seriously hinders the improvement of eco-efficiency. As the city scale gradually expands, the negative effect of urban sprawl on eco-efficiency first decreases, then the restraining effect is gradually strengthened. Our research findings can aid urban development in cities with different scales to reduce the negative effect of urban sprawl on the urban environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban sprawl; eco-efficiency; super-efficiency model; threshold regression model urban sprawl; eco-efficiency; super-efficiency model; threshold regression model
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Zhang, Q.; Zhang, H.; Zhao, D.; Cheng, B.; Yu, C.; Yang, Y. Does Urban Sprawl Inhibit Urban Eco-Efficiency? Empirical Studies of Super-Efficiency and Threshold Regression Models. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5598.

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