Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 2945–2962 | Cite as

The direct and indirect drag effects of land and energy on urban economic growth in the Yangtze River Delta, China

  • Caijing Zhao
  • Yuming Wu
  • Xinyue YeEmail author
  • Baijun Wu
  • Sonali Kudva


This paper estimates the direct and indirect drag effects of land and energy on urban economic growth in the Yangtze River Delta in China over the period of 2003–2012. Using the spatial Durbin panel data model (SDPDM), we found that such urban economic growth is spatially autocorrelated and that resource input has a positive impact on economic growth. The SDPDM results show that the direct drag effect of land and energy is, respectively, 0.75 and 2.38%, indicating that the constraints of land and energy will reduce the economic growth rate by 0.75 and 2.38%. Besides, the indirect drag effect is 0.40 and 4.86%, suggesting that the focal unit’s economic growth would also be influenced by the behavior of its neighbors. Based on these results, this paper proposes some policy recommendations.


Urban economic growth Drag effects Direct and indirect spillover effects Spatial Durbin panel econometrics model Yangtze River Delta 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China “Convergence Mechanisms and Reduction Strategies Research on Regional Carbon Productivity from the Perspective of Spatial Effects” (No. 71373079) and Key Project in Humanity and Social Science of Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality “Research on the Efficient Supply Mechanism of Urban Public Goods” (No. 2017-01-07-00-02-E00008).


  1. Atems, B. (2013). The spatial dynamics of growth and inequality: Evidence using U.S. county-level data. Economics Letters,118(1), 19–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bruvoll, A., Glomsrød, S., & Vennemo, H. (1999). Environmental drag: Evidence from Norway. Ecological Economics,30(2), 235–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carley, M., & Christie, I. (2017). Managing sustainable development. Abingdon: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Davis, G. A. (2011). The resource drag. International Economics and Economic Policy,8(2), 155–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dou, X., & Cui, H. (2017). Low-carbon society creation and socio-economic structural transition in china. Environment, Development and Sustainability,19, 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Elhorst, J. P. (2014). Spatial econometrics: From cross-sectional data to spatial panels. London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ge, X., Zhou, Z., Zhou, Y., Ye, X., & Liu, S. (2018). A spatial panel data analysis of economic growth, urbanization, and NOx emissions in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,15(4), 725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Han, J., Meng, X., Zhou, X., Yi, B., Liu, M., & Xiang, W. N. (2017). A long-term analysis of urbanization process, landscape change, and carbon sources and sinks: A case study in China’s Yangtze River Delta region. Journal of Cleaner Production,141, 1040–1050.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jia, R. (2013). The role of the clean development mechanism in achieving china’s goal of a resource-efficient and environmentally friendly society. Environment, Development and Sustainability,15(1), 133–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lesage, J. P., & Pace, R. K. (2009). Introduction to spatial econometrics. Florida: CRC Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Li, Z. M. (2017). The Yangtze River Delta: An important engine for China’s economy. Science,358(6361), 404–405.Google Scholar
  12. Lin, B. Q. (2003). Electricity consumption and economic growth in China: A study based on the production function. Management World,1, 18–27. (Chinese Version with English Abstract).Google Scholar
  13. Liu, Y. B. (2013). Economic growth drag in the central china: Evidence from a panel analysis. Applied Economics,45(16), 2163–2174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Liu, Y. B. (2014). Resource drag in an endogenous growth context: A panel databased estimation with cross-sectional dependences and structural breaks. Applied Economics,46(14), 1586–1598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Liu, Y. B., & Xie, Y. C. (2013). Measuring the dragging effect of natural resources on economic growth: Evidence from a space–time panel filter modeling in China. Annals of the Association of American Geographers,103(6), 1539–1551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J., & Behrens, W. W. I. (1972). The limits to growth. New York: Universe Books.Google Scholar
  17. Nordhaus, W. D. (1992). Lethal model 2: The limits to growth revisited. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity,2, 1–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Romer, D. (2012). Advanced macroeconomics (4th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  19. Salat, S., & Bourdic, L. (2014). Spatial growth and urban densities in china—Trends and impacts on economic and energy efficiency. International Journal of Sustainable Building Technology & Urban Development,5(2), 100–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Shen, K. R., & Li, Y. (2010). An analysis of the energy bound on economic growth. Industrial Economics Research,2, 1–8. (Chinese version with English Abstract).Google Scholar
  21. Sun, X. L., Jiana, G. L., & Deng, F. (2015). The study on energy growth drag of open regional economy system. Ecological Economy,31(1), 75–79. (Chinese Version with English Abstract).Google Scholar
  22. Tan, X., & Zhao, X. Y. (2011). A comparative study of the energy resistance on the economic growth of East, Central and West China. Inquiry into Economic Issues,1, 160–164. (Chinese Version with English Abstract).Google Scholar
  23. Uri, N. D. (1995). A reconsideration of effect of energy scarcity on economic growth. Energy,20(1), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wei, Y., & Ye, X. (2014). Urbanization, urban land expansion and environmental change in China. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment,28(4), 757–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Xie, S. L., Wang, Z., & Xue, J. B. (2005). Drag of China’s economic growth on water and land. Management World,7(22–25), 54. (Chinese Version with English Abstract).Google Scholar
  26. Xu, J., Zhou, M., & Li, H. (2018). The drag effect of coal consumption on economic growth in China during 1953–2013. Resources, Conservation and Recycling,129, 326–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessEast China University of Science and TechnologyShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of GeographyKent State UniversityKentUSA
  3. 3.College of Communication and InformationKent State UniversityKentUSA

Personalised recommendations