How would GVCs participation affect carbon intensity in the “Belt and Road Initiative” countries?

Qiaoling Shi, Yuli Shan, Chao Zhong*, Ye Cao*, Rui Xue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Participating in global value chains (GVCs) brings great economic and ecological benefits in Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries. By combining the multi-region input-output analyses with regression models, this study examines the impact of GVCs participation on carbon intensity in BRI countries during 2005–2016. Results show that: most BRI countries are located in backward GVCs positions, and carbon intensity presents a decreasing trend. Heterogeneity analysis indicates that, forward (backward) GVCs participation mode is negatively (positively) associated with carbon intensity changes in BRI countries. Both forward and backward participation modes have greater impacts on BRI developing than that of developed countries. With the deepening of forward linkages, BRI developing countries could reduce greater carbon intensity than all global developing countries.Further analysis shows that technological innovation and industrial upgrading effects of forward mode play greater impacts on decreasing carbon intensity than that of backward mode. Taken together, BRI countries can strengthen cooperation in climate governance and promote synergy to reduce carbon intensity. In addition, it is necessary to seek a breakthrough in GVCs position to realize the function of environmental governance. Advancing technological innovation and upgrading industrial structure are also effective ways to reduce carbon intensity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106075
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Economics
Early online date16 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Global value chains
  • The Belt and Road Initiative countries
  • Carbon intensity
  • Forward and backward participation mode
  • Impact mechanism


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