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Transportation Infrastructure, Economic Growth and Spatial Equalization—Natural Experiment Based on High-speed Railway in China

【Authors】
NIAN Meng
【WorkUnit】
Rural Development Institute, CASS, 100732.
【Abstract】

As a large-scale inter-regional transportation infrastructure, high-speed railway will have an important impact on regional economic growth and economic spatial pattern. Since the large-scale construction of high-speed railways kicked off in China, most of domestic empirical studies find that the high-speed railways, once open to traffic, have the “siphon effect”: they will promote the economic growth in developed regions, but not so in underdeveloped regions. We believe that this finding is due to the failure to include more types of spatial scales or consider the cumulative effect of time in the operation of large transport infrastructure. This paper uses the general county-level administrative districts, countylevel cities, and municipal districts at the prefecture level and above as the basic spatial units, and uses global nighttime lighting data as proxy variables for economic development to examine the time cumulative effect and spatial proximity effect of highspeed railways on regional economic growth and spatial structure from 2007 to 2013. The empirical study shows that the longer the high-speed railway is in service, the stronger its effect on regional economic growth, showing a significant time cumulative effect; that the closer a region is to the high-speed railway stations, the greater the benefits, showing a significant spatial proximity effect; and that the highspeed railway can significantly drive the economic growth in all regions it connects, but the effect varies for different types of regions: general counties benefit the most from it, followed by county-level cities and prefecture-level cities and above. In addition, through the construction of the Gini coefficient of high-speed railway stations, we find the operation of high-speed railways will help reduce the regional gap and promote the equalization of economic space.

 
JEL:R12, R58

【KeyWords】
High-speed Railway, Economic Growth, Spatial Equalization