Do central state interventions cause urban shrinkage in China?

Authors: Scarlett Jin*, Ohio State University
Topics: Urban Geography, China
Keywords: Urban shrinkage, shrinking cities, urban China
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: 8212, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In China, the stories of urban shrinkage have been ignored and obscured by the dazzling urbanization and modernization processes. This paper intends to find out which prefecture-level cities shrank from 2011 to 2015 and examine the influence of central state interventions in urban shrinkage. By calculating the urban household registered population changes of 283 prefecture-level cities and 4 municipalities in Mainland China, we identify 77 cities with declined population and 36 cities that simultaneously suffer from more than 1% population losses and below average GDP growth. The results of logit regression models show that China is not exceptional in terms of what causes urban shrinkage: low natural growth rate, low wages, low precipitation, and a high proportion of employment in the mining industry significantly contribute to urban shrinkage, whereas central state interventions in the form of preferential policies and state-owned enterprises do not explain why certain cities shrink.

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