Group Name: Project “Develop China”
Why are prosperity and economic activity spread so unevenly across China? Are workers in Shanghai really 13 times more productive than workers in Guizhou? Spatial inequality has become an increasingly important feature of the spatial economy of many developing countries, and seems to be coupled with increasing economic growth and development. Despite tremendous growth over the past 30 years, spatial inequality in China is intensifying over time. To better understand this puzzling relationship between growth and inequality I investigate geographical explanations of uneven development and apply them to the Chinese case.
The observed spatial inequality in China and elsewhere can be explained, in part, by inequalities associated with geography’s first nature and second nature. Specifically, first nature refers to the natural advantage of some locations over others in terms of resource endowments, climate and access to rivers, coasts, ports and borders. Second nature considers the interactions between economic agents, and especially increasing returns and diminishing transport costs associated with agglomeration economies.
The goals of this project are 3-fold: first, test several main hypotheses developed in the economic growth literature and apply them to the Chinese context; second, taking into account spatial dependence, identify neighborhood effects of relative location on growth; and third, offer policy-relevant insights for Chinese regional development. To carry out my research objectives, I will use the Annual report of Industrial Enterprise Statistics collected by the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS) from 1998-2009. The dataset includes an extensive set of variables at the firm level, including geographic location (given at the zip code level), gross output, sales, R&D, value added, net fixed assets, exports, employee training expenditures, firm ownership structure, industry affiliation (given at the 4-digit level), establishment year, employment and FDI. I will build interactive maps to show how county growth, agglomeration and resource production changes over time in China.
In collaboration with UCLA Geography and Peking University Urban and Regional Planning in Beijing, China, I am working closely to carry out research that intersects research perspectives developed within the geography, urban and regional planning and economic development literatures. I am from Lansing, MI and received a B.S. in Political Science and a B.S. in Chinese Language and Culture from Michigan State University. At UCLA, I am pursuing a joint degree program in Statistics and Geography (M.S/PhD).