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Roads, railroads and decentralization of Chinese cities

Baum-Snow, Nathaniel, Brandt, Loren, Henderson, J. Vernon, Turner, Matthew A. and Zhang, Qinghua (2017) Roads, railroads and decentralization of Chinese cities. Review of Economics and Statistics, 99 (3). pp. 435-448. ISSN 0034-6535

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Identification Number: 10.1162/REST_a_00660


We investigate how configurations of urban railroads and highways influenced urban form in Chinese cities since 1990. Each radial highway displaces about 4 percent of central city population to surrounding regions and ring roads displace about an additional 20 percent, with stronger effects in the richer coastal and central regions. Each radial railroad reduces central city industrial GDP by about 20 percent, with ring roads displacing an additional 50 percent. Similar estimates for the locations of manufacturing jobs and residential location of manufacturing workers is evidence that radial highways decentralize service sector activity, radial railroads decentralize industrial activity and ring roads decentralize both. Historical transportation infrastructure provides identifying variation in more recent measures of infrastructure.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
T Technology > TE Highway engineering. Roads and pavements
JEL classification: O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O2 - Development Planning and Policy
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R4 - Transportation Systems
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2016 09:01
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 07:00
Projects: RA-2009-11-013
Funders: International Growth Centre, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council

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