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Title: China's Dazzling Transport-infrastructure Growth: Measurement and Effects

Author(s): Peter Egger, Nicole Loumeau and Gabriel Loumeau

Publication Date: October 2020

Keyword(s): General-equilibrium models, migration, regional economics, structural estimation, Transport Infrastructure and Transportation problem

Programme Area(s): International Trade and Regional Economics

Abstract: We document an unprecedented change in the size and the quality of China's transport-infrastructure network between 2000 and 2013. This documentation is based on hand-collected and digitized data on roads and railways. The changes are summarized and portrayed as shortest-possible transport times of people and goods between 330 prefectures of mainland China. A quantitative model of China's prefectures and a Rest of the World, featuring both goods trade and migration, suggests that the long-run consequences of the transport-infrastructure changes induce regional convergence of lagging-behind prefectures in terms of population density and, to a lesser extent, in terms of real per-capita income. Not only changes in highway and high-speed-railway networks but also ones in lower-level road and railway networks are quantitatively important. Key drivers behind the effects are the facilitation of goods transport as well as technology diffusion, while the reduction of mobility costs and the diffusion of amenities appear less important.

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Bibliographic Reference

Egger, P, Loumeau, N and Loumeau, G. 2020. 'China's Dazzling Transport-infrastructure Growth: Measurement and Effects'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research. https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15372