Does food quality certification improve eco-efficiency? Empirical evidence from Chinese vegetable production

Shijia Kang, Fabian Frick, Amer Ait Sidhoum, Johannes Sauer, Shaofeng Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the impact of food quality certification on farms’ eco-efficiency in China, recognizing that the certification acts as a catalyst for encouraging more sustainable practices. The data was collected from 1855 vegetable growers in Shandong and Hebei provinces. Following a two-step approach, stochastic frontier analysis is applied to estimate eco-efficiency scores of smallholder farms, and a multinomial endogenous switching regression model is used to estimate the implication of certification schemes on eco-efficiency, while accounting for selectivity bias due to both observed and unobserved factors acting as a confounder. The empirical results suggest that hazard-free certification increases the eco-efficiency score for vegetable farms by 2.7%, followed by green certification by 4.6% and organic certification by 16.3%, respectively. Meanwhile, we find that the farmer's certification adoption decision is significantly associated with farm size, farming experience, off-farm income, extension service, and social capital, which should be taken into account as policy recommendations to sustain and improve the positive effects of certification in regard to both economic and environmental aspects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102564
JournalFood Policy
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Eco-efficiency
  • Food quality certification
  • Multinominal endogenous switching regression model
  • Stochastic frontier analysis
  • Vegetable farms


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