The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 437–459 | Cite as

Quantifying economic effects of transportation investment considering spatiotemporal heterogeneity in China: a spatial panel data model perspective

  • Xiongbin LinEmail author
  • Ian MacLachlan
  • Ting Ren
  • Feiyang Sun
Original Paper


Transportation investment plays a significant role in promoting economic development. However, in what scenario and to what extent transportation investment can stimulate economic growth still remains debatable. For developing countries undergoing rapid urbanization, answering these questions is necessary for evaluating proposals and determining investment plans, especially considering the heterogeneity of spatiotemporal conditions. Current literature lacks systematical research to consider the impacts of panel data and spatial correlation issue in examining the economic effects of transportation investment. To fill this gap, this study collects provincial panel data in China from 1997 to 2015 to evaluate multi-level temporal and spatial effects of transportation investment on economic growth by using spatial panel data analysis. Results show that transportation investment leads to significant and positive effects on growth and spatial concentration of economic activities, but these results vary significantly depending on the temporal and spatial characteristics of each province. The economic impacts of transportation investment are quite positive even considering the time lag effects. This study suggests that both central and local governments should carefully evaluate the multifaceted economic effects of transportation investment, such as a balanced transportation investment and economic development between growing and lagging regions, and considering the spatiotemporal heterogeneity of the economic environment.

JEL Classification

C33 R40 R58 



This work was supported by the Humanity and Social Science Youth Foundation of the Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 19YJC790074), the Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (Grant No. LQ19D010003), Soft Science Foundation of Ningbo (Grant No. 2018A10018), and the K. C. Wong Magna Fund from Ningbo University. The authors thank three anonymous reviewers for their insightful suggestions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

168_2019_937_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (76 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 75 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiongbin Lin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ian MacLachlan
    • 3
  • Ting Ren
    • 4
  • Feiyang Sun
    • 5
  1. 1.Donghai Institute of Ningbo UniversityNingbo UniversityNingboChina
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Spatial Information TechnologyNingbo UniversityNingboChina
  3. 3.School of Urban Planning and DesignPeking University Shenzhen Graduate SchoolShenzhenChina
  4. 4.HSBC Business SchoolPeking University Shenzhen Graduate SchoolShenzhenChina
  5. 5.Department of Urban Design and PlanningUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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