Travel Costs and Urban Specialization Patterns: Evidence from China’s High Speed Railway System

How does intercity passenger transportation shape urban employment and specialization patterns? To shed light on this question the author studied China’s High Speed Railway (HSR), an unprecedentedly large-scale network that connected 81 cities from 2003 to 2014 with trains running at speeds over 200 km/h. Using a difference-in-differences approach, the author finds that an HSR connection increases city-wide passenger flows by 10% and employment by 7%. To deal with the issues of endogenous railway placement and simultaneous public investments accompanying HSR connection, the author examines the impact of a city’s market access changes purely driven by the HSR connection of other cities. The estimates suggest that HSR-induced expansion in market access increases urban employment with an elasticity between 2 and 2.5. Further evidence on sectoral employment suggests that industries with a higher reliance on nonroutine cognitive skills benefit more from HSR-induced market access to other cities.


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01632789
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 28 2017 10:39AM