Week 3: Proposal: Project GCE

Project GCE – “Grow China Equitably”

A. Revised proposal topic and description

Project Description
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. Using unpublished data, I will build interactive maps to show how county growth, agglomeration and resource production changes over time in China.

B. A list of functionalities the site will provide
The website is dedicated to drawing attention to the nature of growth and the causes of growing inequality in China, framed within a growth-equity trade-off debate. I will use text and dynamic maps to visualize growth differentials across China from 1998-2009. The content and functionality of the site is as follows

The home page will include a brief introduction and description of China and why it is an important region of study. I will highlight some of the economic and political changes that have transpired over the past 30 years.

Link 1: Dynamic Map page
One of the basic options I want to offer the user is the option to select a spatial scale – provincial, city or county. From there, the user will be able to choose from several key economic variables (i.e. Productivity, R&D, FDI, Trade, Wages, and so forth) and visualize their values on a map of China (in cloropleth fashion). The user will also be able to manually select any year from 1998-2009 to visualize a particular variable. If time permits, I will enable the user the option to explore the extent of spatial clustering and the shift of hot spots, using Moran’s I, of natural resource and industrial clustering, respectively.

To provide this type of user interface, I will select the key variables from my dataset and build corresponding map layers using ArcMap, and use fusion tables to call them to my webpage. I will also specify a statistical model developed in the growth model and carry out Moran’s I on the residuals of the model, as well as on the actual values of the key variables identified above. Ideally, I would like to build a time-series map, where the user can pick a variable or model, press play and watch the hot spots on the map change automatically from year to year.

Link 2: Meet the Private Investigator and collaborators
I will write out a personal biosketch of how I became interested in China, my research interests and a link to my C.V. I will also introduce the collaborators of this project with links to their own personal page.

Link 3: Resources page
I will list various influential works on China growth/inequality, list places to procure Chinese data, as well as list other websites that focus on China.

C. Wireframe diagram that describes each section of the site

Project GCE-Wire Frame

D. Sketches or diagrams that “storyboard” the prototype’s usage.
Project GCE- Storyboard

E. A list of all datasets that the project will use (specify the API URL if using web services)
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.

F. Milestones: What will be done by week 6, and what will be done by Finals week
By Week 6, I would like to have the homepage set-up and navigable, as well the links to the other 3 pages established. I expect to have all four webpages styled (using CSS) with proper background color and animation. I expect to write all content on the homepage, meet the PI and collaborators and the resource pages as well. Following week 6, I expect to focus the remaining time on building the dynamic maps, and adding map functionality, such as adjusting spatial scale, selecting appropriate variables, and carrying out Moran’s I on variables and models.

G. Concerns
At present, I only have 1998 data and am still waiting on the remaining years to be properly coded and treated. Despite this potential drawback, I will still be able to use the 1998 data as a solid starting point to carry out all my objectives, except the time-series graph that shows hot spots evolving over time.

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