Estimating the economic benefits of high-speed rail in China: A new perspective from the connectivity improvement


  • Zhaohui Chong Business School, Shantou University, Shantou, China
  • Chenglin Qin School of Economics, Jinan University
  • Zhenhua Chen City and Regional Planning, Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University, 275 West Woodruff Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA



Urban economic growth, Connectivity improvement, HSR network, Spillover effect


This paper evaluates the economic benefits of high-speed rail (HSR) in China, with a focus on the connectivity change resulting from HSR development. The effect of HSR, measured in degree centrality, is assessed using a spatial econometric modeling technique based on a panel dataset that covers 268 Chinese cities from 2008-2015. To provide a robust assessment, statistical issues including heterogeneous effects, endogeneity, and spatial dependence are addressed simultaneously in the spatial panel modeling process. Our empirical results confirm that connectivity improvement brought by HSR plays a vital role in facilitating economic growth. Specifically, the contribution of HSR to urban economic growth is found to be 0.11, most of which comes from a local effect rather than a spillover effect. Overall, the research findings suggest that urban economic growth can benefit from the development of HSR.

Author Biography

Chenglin Qin, School of Economics, Jinan University

Prof Qin's research concerns the economic influence of rail transit and high speed railway network, and he combines spatial econometric and social network analysis in empirical studies.


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How to Cite

Chong, Z., Qin, C., & Chen, Z. (2019). Estimating the economic benefits of high-speed rail in China: A new perspective from the connectivity improvement. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 12(1).



Special Section: Rail Transit Development in China and Beyond