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

Zhaohui Chong, Chenglin Qin, Zhenhua Chen


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.


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

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