IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 15717: How Do Environmental Regulations and Outward Foreign Direct Investment Impact the Green Total Factor Productivity in China? A Mediating Effect Test Based on Provincial Panel Data (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
This paper investigates the impact of two types of environmental regulations (ERs), command-and-control environmental regulation (CACER) and market-incentive environmental regulation (MIER), on green total factor productivity (GTFP) through outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) in 30 provinces in China for the period of 2006–2019. The Global Malmquist–Luenberger (GML) Index based on non-radial directional distance function (NDDF) considering undesired outputs is used to measure GTFP growth at the provincial level. To explore the mediating effect of OFDI, the two-step econometric model and the non-linear mediating effect model are employed. The empirical results show that CACER has an inverted U-shaped impact on OFDI and a U-shaped impact on GTFP, while MIER has a linearly positive effect on OFDI and GTFP. The current intensity of CACER lies on the left side of the inflection point of the U-shaped curve. OFDI significantly positively influences the increase in GTFP and is a significant mediating variable in the relationship between ERs and GTFP. Moreover, the introduction of OFDI delays the appearance of the inflection point. Further analysis, taking into account the regional heterogeneity, indicates that the inverted U-shaped and U-shaped curve is still valid in the eastern and western area and that the mediating effect of OFDI on ERs in the western area is stronger than that in the eastern area. Based on these conclusions, policy implications are provided to improve GTFP in China.