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Can green finance promote green technology innovation in enterprises: empirical evidence from China

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Green technology innovation is a crucial step in China's transition towards a green economy and has received substantial financial support through green finance. However, China's efficacy in using green finance to serve enterprise green technology innovation is still at an exploratory stage. This study takes the 2017 policy of the Chinese government on "Green Finance Reform and Innovation Pilot Zones" as a quasi-natural experiment and constructs a difference-in-difference model to examine the impact of green finance on enterprise green technology innovation. The research results reveal that green financial policies significantly promote green technology innovation and have an incentive effect on the application of green invention patents and green utility model patents, with this conclusion being robust. This is particularly true for large-scale enterprises, state-owned enterprises, and non-heavy polluting enterprises. Compared to large-scale enterprises, state-owned enterprises, and non-heavy-polluting enterprises are more inclined to apply for green invention patents. Inspection of influence mechanisms suggests that green finance policies alleviate financing constraints and signaling effect to improve enterprises’ green innovation, whereas external market supervision is ineffective. Based on empirical results, relevant policy suggestions are proposed to help green finance better serve enterprises’ green innovation.

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Data availability

The datasets used in this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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This work was supported by the General Project of Soft Science Research Program of Science and Technology Department of Shaanxi Province: Study on the impact of environmental Regulations on Enterprise green technology Innovation in Shaanxi Province under Grant Agreement No 2022KRM116. And this work was also supported by Key Project of Xi 'an Social Science Planning Fund: Research on Driving Policies of Xi 'an Enterprises' Green Technology Innovation under the goal of “Double Carbon” under Grant Agreement No 22JX137. And this work also received research support from the Ministry of Education: Study on the Interprovincial Carbon Emission Reduction Responsibility Allocation of China's Manufacturing Industry under the “Dual Carbon” Goal under Grant Agreement No 22YJC790008 and Social Science Foundation Project of Shaanxi Province: Research on the Treatment Path of County Rural Water Pollution in Shaanxi Province under the Strategy of Rural Revitalization No 2020D025.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Qian Zeng, Yijie Tong and Yiying Yang performed material preparation, data collection and analysis. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Qian Zeng and Yijie Tong. All authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. And all authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yiying Yang.

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Qian Zeng is the first author, Yijie Tong is the second author and Yiying Yang is the third author.

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Zeng, Q., Tong, Y. & Yang, Y. Can green finance promote green technology innovation in enterprises: empirical evidence from China. Environ Sci Pollut Res 30, 87628–87644 (2023).

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