High-speed rail, factor flow and regional economic gaps

BIAN Yuanchao1 WU Lihua1 BAI Junhong2

(1.School of Economics & Management, Southeast University 211189)
(2.School of Business, Nanjing Normal University 210023)

【Abstract】The previous literature on the relationship between high-speed rails and regional economic growth has ignored the impact of high-speed rails on the regional economic gaps and the phenomenon of factor flow among regions. By analyzing the empirical facts of China’s regional economic growth pattern in the context of high-speed rails, and from the perspective of factor flow, this paper elaborated on the impact mechanism of high-speed rails on regional economic gaps in detail. Meanwhile, this paper studied the impact of high-speed rails on regional economic growth gaps through a qusai-natural experiment of whether to open high-speed rails and based on the data of China’s 287 cities in 2004–2014. According to the study, we found that high-speed rails had a significant positive effect on the regional economic gaps through the factor flow; that is to say, the opening of high-speed rails could widen the regional economic gaps and produce polarization effect. Besides, the opening of high-speed rails significantly expands provincial capitals’ economic gaps, but the effect on non-provincial capitals is not significant. At last, the impact of high-speed rails on the regional economic gaps is characterized by a significant time effect, and the polarization effect shows a trend of increasing and then decreasing.

【Keywords】 high-speed rail; regional economic gaps; factor flow; propensity score matching and difference in differences methods;


【Funds】 National Social Science Fund Key Project (17AGL005)

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This Article


CN: 11-1166/F

Vol 39, No. 06, Pages 147-161

June 2018


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Empirical fact and impact mechanism analysis
  • 3 Model construction and variable selection
  • 4 Results of analysis, and discussion
  • 5 Further analysis: the time effect of high-speed rail opening affecting regional economic gaps
  • 6 Conclusion and enlightenment
  • References