Simultaneous action or protection after production? Decision making based on a chance-constrained approach by measuring environmental performance considering PM2.5 rights and content


A chance-constrained slacks-based measure is proposed for DEA model.

•Uncertainty in PM2.5 concentration data is considered in environment performance.

•Protection after production strategy is modeled through a two-stage computation.

•Disparities in urban PM2.5 related environmental performance are investigated.

•Emission reduction strategy should be decided based on the DEA measurement.


This study proposed a stochastic slacks-based data envelopment analysis (DEA) to measure the environmental performance considering random errors of PM2.5 concentration. Different from the conventional DEA strategy which aims to optimize the pollution reduction and economic production simultaneously in performance evaluation, a novel DEA method for modeling protection-after-production strategy is developed. This strategy sets a lower priority for pollution reduction in the DEA objective function. Both strategies reflect the differences in priorities for implementing pollution reduction and economic production in DEA modeling. Effectively capturing pollution reduction and post pollution cleaning effectively captures more real-world policy options and technologies. This study explores a PM2.5 related environmental performance comparison between simultaneous and protection-after-production strategies for China's 242 cities. Significant urban disparities in PM2.5 related environmental performance are observed in China. PM2.5 concentration reduction should be accentuated in Chinese eastern area, especially for cities in circum-Bohai-Sea region. Based on the stochastic environmental performance comparison between both strategies, it is reasonable to adopt the simultaneous strategy to reduce emissions in some economically developed cities. The protection-after-production strategy is more economical than the simultaneous strategy for most cities; a result obtainable only through the critical contribution of this paper. Policy suggestions are also provided to direct the control of urban PM2.5 pollution.


Data envelopment analysis
Chance-constrained model
PM2.5 concentration
Chinese cities
Performance evaluation

Anyu Yu: Dr. Anyu Yu is an assistant professor at International Business School, Zhejiang Gongshang University. His main research interests include data envelopment analysis, performance evaluation, and sustainable operations. His research works have been published in many international journals such as European Journal of Operational Research, Annals of Operations Research, Journal of the Operational Research Society, and Applied Energy.

Puwei Zhang: Dr. Puwei Zhang is an associate professor at College of City Construction, Jiangxi Normal University. His main research interests include efficiency evaluation, project management, and rural revitalization.

Simon Rudkin: Dr. Simon Rudkin is a senior lecturer in Economics at Swansea University. His research focus is on the nexus of economic understanding and cutting edge empirical analysis, exploring how critical insights can shape policy for societal benefit. Simon has published in Environment and Planning A, Applied Energy, Food Policy amongst many others.

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