Public Infrastructure in China: Explaining Growth and Spatial Inequality

Nannan Yu

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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Public infrastructure is often mentioned as a key to promoting economic growth and development. This belief has been supported by the observation of rich countries, such as the U.S., Japan and those in Western Europe, where plenty of infrastructures developed during times of rapid economic growth. China has been one of the world’s fastest-growing and most important emerging economies in recent decades with good performance of public infrastructure. However, China’s transition to a market-based economy has created new problems, among which is the growing regional inequality in per capita income. The interior region (near west) and far western regions lag far behind the coastal region in economic progress. Both theoretical and empirical evidence is could help explain the economic growth and increasing regional disparity in China.
To answer these questions, the book is organized in the following way: in chapter 1 the regional distribution pattern of the public infrastructure and economic development in China is introduced, the problem of infrastructure-led growth and disparity is diagnosed, and the research question is posed; in chapter 2 the causal linkages between transport infrastructure and economic growth in China are determined at national and regional levels separately; after identifying the causality between transport infrastructure and economic development, chapter 3 estimates the impact of transport stock on overall economic growth, and on growth at the regional level as well; the long-run effects of education attainment and its distribution on China’s growth in China are estimated in chapter 4; chapter 5 examines the distributive impact of public infrastructure (both transport infrastructure and education), highlighting the role of road infrastructure in narrowing China’s spatial concentration and inequity; chapter 6 provides a synthetic answer to the research question based on all theoretical and empirical study in the previous chapters.
Therefore, rather than providing recommendations for the Chinese governments about how much they should invest in infrastructure projects, this book aims at understanding the real role of public infrastructure in China’s growth and disparity, and illustrating how public infrastructure investment plan changes can achieve economic efficiency and spatial equity.provided to support the public infrastructure-led growth hypothesis, it is questionable, however, whether investment in infrastructure has been helpful in spurring economy, and in reducing the growing coastal-interior gap in China, considering that plenty of large infrastructure projects have been constructed or planned in the less-developed interiors. Therefore, this study explores both if and how public investment in infrastructure
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • de Jong, Martin, Supervisor
  • de Bruijn, J.A., Supervisor
  • Storm, S.T.H., Advisor
Award date15 Dec 2016
Print ISBNs978-94-6186-741-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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