Forty-year’s Uneven Economic Development: Revisit the Evolution of Regional Disparities and Policy in China

Authors: Xiaozhong Sun*, Cornell University
Topics: Regional Geography, China, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Regional disparity, Multiscale, Regional policy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8229, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


China has implemented Reform and Opening for Forty-year. Its following regional policies greatly shape the landscape of regional development in China characteristic with rapid growth and enlarging gap. Research on the regional disparity in China provides controversial findings either due to the different period of time of study or geographical scale. Neoclassic theories cannot fully depict the evolution of regional disparity in China. Based on existing studies, this study will conduct a multiscale study on the evolution of regional production inequality from 1978 to 2018 at both county and prefectural-city level using Coefficient of Variance, Gini, and Theil index. In addition, this study will decompose regional inequality into economic development zones and the metropolitan area identified in the national development policies and unveil the trajectory of within between-group inequality. This study intends to describe comprehensive pictures of uneven regional economic development in Post-Mao era. Preliminary results show that the trend of regional disparity in China shows no clear divergent, convergent, or inverted-U patterns. Regional policies in China generate both expected and unexpected impacts on regional development pattern.

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