Spatial and institutional urbanisation in China

  • Nobuhiro OkamotoEmail author
In Honor of Shin-Kun Peng


This paper sheds new light on the characteristics of urbanisation in China, which commenced as a comprehensive social–economic plan in 2014, from the perspective of ‘spatial urbanisation’ and ‘institutional urbanisation’. The paper argues that urbanisation in China comprises not merely ‘spatial urbanisation’, i.e., the concentration of population in certain areas as has been commonly observed in developed countries, but also ‘institutional urbanisation’ in which the institutional barrier has remained in situ to prevent migrants from becoming urban citizens and to suspend true urbanisation. To obtain clear picture of two kinds of urbanisation, the paper conducted the simulation analysis using input–output model. This econometric analysis indicates that ‘spatial urbanisation’ will boost the manufacturing sector, leading to economic growth, while ‘institutional urbanisation’ will cause a structural change towards a service-based economy, which could result in the so-called ‘middle-income trap’ being avoided. Nevertheless, the advancement of ‘institutional urbanisation’ is extremely costly rather than ‘spatial urbanisation’.


Urbanisation Urban and rural division Rural migrant Input–output analysis 

JEL Classification

C67 O18 R58 



This study was funded by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant number JP15K06261 and JP16K02002).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

Informed consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.


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Copyright information

© The Japan Section of the Regional Science Association International 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Daito Bunka UniversityTokyoJapan

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