Transportation Infrastructure and Spatial Development in China

  • Sangaralingam RameshEmail author


This chapter evaluates the political economy of Chinese infrastructure development. In this context, a number of key points were established. For example, after 1949 the restoration of war damaged railway lines were a key component of transportation policy. This was necessitated by the implementation of the Soviet model of development, which focused on the development of heavy industry, which relied upon the extraction of mineral resources, which the interior provinces were abundant in. This policy was built upon with the First Five Year Plan which focused on extending the mileage of existing track. However, a consistent policy with regards to infrastructure, knowledge creation and knowledge spillovers was not followed in the period between 1949 to 1977. This inconsistency was due to conflicts within the ruling class on the best way in which China’s economic development could be optimised. Infrastructure investment in the Coastal regions was therefore neglected until the post 1978 economic reforms.  


  1. Andersen, M. S. (2007). An introductory note on the environmental economics of the circular economy. Sustain Science, 2, 133e140.Google Scholar
  2. APCO. (2016). The 13th five-year plan: Xi Jinping reiterates his vision for China.
  3. Ashton, B., Hill, K., Piazza, A., & Zeitz, R. (1984). Famine in China, 1958–61. Population and Development Review, 10, 613–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boulding, K. E. (1966). The economics of the coming spaceship earth. In Environmental quality in a growing economy, resources for the future. Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  5. Breslin, S. (1988). Shanxi: China’s powerhouse. In S. G. D. Goodman (Ed.), China’s regional development.Google Scholar
  6. Cao, J., Liu, X., Wang, Y., & Li, Q. (2013). Accessibility impacts of China’s high-speed rail network. Journal of Transport Geography, 28, 12–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen, C. (2011). Foreign direct investment in China: Location determinants, investor differences and economic impacts. Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Christoffersen, G. (1993). Xinjiang and the Great Islamic Circle. China Quarterly, (133), 130–151 (March 1993).Google Scholar
  9. Colton, L. S., & Morrison, W. M. (1997). The Chinese transportation system in domestic economic modernisation in China. In A. M. Babkina (Eds.), Nova Science Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  10. Demurger, S. (2001). Infrastructure development and economic growth: An explanation for regional disparities in China? Journal of Comparative Economics, 29, 95–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ezcurra, R., & Rodrıguez-Pose, A. (2013). Does economic globalization affect regional inequality? A cross-country analysis. World Development, 52, 92–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fairbank, J., & Goldman, M. (2006). China: A new history, second (Enlarged ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Fan, C. (2006). China’s eleventh five-year plan (2006–2010): From “Getting Rich First” to “Common Prosperity”. Eurasian Geography and Economics, 47(6), 708–723.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Field, R. (1983). Slow growth of labour productivity in Chinese industry, 1952–1971. The China Quarterly, 96, 641–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Freeman, C. (2012). From ‘blood transfusion’ to ‘harmonious development’: The political economy of fiscal allocations to China’s ethnic regions. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 41(4), 11–44.Google Scholar
  16. Friedmann, J. (1972). A general theory of polarized development. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  17. Fujita, M., & Mori, T. (2005). Transport development and the evolution of economic geography. Discussion Paper No. 21. Tokyo: Institute of Developing Economies.Google Scholar
  18. Gao, M. (2008). The battle for China’s Past: Mao and the cultural revolution. London and Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  19. Goodman, D. (2013). China’s regional development. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Head, K., & Ries, J. (1996). Inter-City competition for foreign investment: Static and dynamic effects of China’s incentive areas. Journal of Urban Economics, 40, 38–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hioki, S. (2004). The Magnitude of the interregional input-output spillover effects in China and its implication to China’s uneven regional growth, In Okamoto, N., and Ihara, T. (Eds.), 147–169.Google Scholar
  22. Hodder, R. (1994). Infrastructural development in China. In M. Brosseau & L. C. Kin (Eds.), China review. The Chinese University of Hong Kong.Google Scholar
  23. Howard, M. (2005). Transport and communications in China’s regional development. In D. G. Goodman (Ed.).Google Scholar
  24. Johansson, A. C., & Ljungwall, C. (2009). Spillover effects among the greater china stock markets. World Development, 37, 839–851.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Joseph, W. (1986). A tragedy of good intentions: Post-Mao views of the great leap forward. Modern China, 12(4), 419–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Juh, K. K. (1993). A transportation transformation. China Business Review, 20(4).Google Scholar
  27. Ke, S. (2015). Domestic market integration and regional economic growth—China’s recent experience from 1995–2011. World Development, 66, 588–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Khan, A. (2014). Pak-China economic corridor: The hopes and the reality, regional studies (Vol. XXXIII, No. 1, Winter 2014–2015, pp. 45–63).Google Scholar
  29. Khan, S. (2013). Geo-economic imperatives of Gwadar Sea port and Kashgar economic zone for Pakistan and China. IPRI Journal, XIII(2), 87–100 (Summer 2013).Google Scholar
  30. Khan, Z. A. (2013). China’s Gwadar and India‘s Chahbahar: An analysis of Sino-Indian geostrategic and economic competition. Journal of Strategic Studies, 32.Google Scholar
  31. Kirby, R., & Cannon, T. (1988). Introduction in China’s regional development. In S. G. D. Goodman (Ed.).Google Scholar
  32. Kung, J., & Lin, J. (2003). The causes of China’s great leap famine, 1959–1961. Economic Development and Cultural Change.Google Scholar
  33. Kynge, K., Campbell, C., Kazmin, A., & Bokhari, F. (2017). How China rules the waves.
  34. Li, C., Xiuling, L., Yixuan, W., & Yue, W. (2016). Analysis of using FDI in Ningxia Hui autonomous region of China. Journal of Research in Business, Economics and Management, Vl. 5(4).Google Scholar
  35. Li, S., & Zhai, F. (2002). China’s WTO accession and implications for its regional economies. Economie International, 92.Google Scholar
  36. Li, W., & Su, H. (2015). China. Q of Int’ l Strategic Stud. 01, 265. doi: 10.1142/S237774001550013X.
  37. Li, W., & Yang, D. (2005). The great leap forward: Anatomy of a central planning disaster. Journal of Political Economy, 113(4), 840–877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Li, X.-M. (2000). The great leap forward, economic reforms, and the unit root hypothesis: Testing for breaking trend functions in China’s GDP data. Journal of Comparative Economics, 28, 814–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lu, M., & Chen, Z. (2009). Fragmented growth: Why economic opening may worsen domestic market segmentation? Economic Research Journal, 44, 42–52. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  40. Ma, L., & Wei, Y. (1997). Determinants of state investment in China, 1953–1990. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 88(3), 211–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McKinnon, R. I. (1963). Optimal currency area’s. American Economic Review, 53, 717–725.Google Scholar
  42. Naughton, B. (2003). How much can regional integration do to unify China’s markets in how far across the river? In N. C. Hope (Ed.), Chinese policy reform at the millennium. Redwood City: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Naughton, B. (2004). The western development program in holding China together: Diversity and national integration in the Post-Deng era. In B. J. Naughton, & D. L. Yang (Eds.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Peng, X. (1987). Demographic consequences of the great leap forward in China’s Provinces. Population and Development Review, 13(4), 639–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Phillips, D. R., & Yeh, A. G. O. (1988). Special economic zones. In S. G. D. Goodman (Ed.), China’s regional development.Google Scholar
  46. Phillips, D., & Yeh, A. (2013). Special economic zones, In D. Goodman, (ed.), China's Regional Development, Oxfordshire: Routledge.Google Scholar
  47. Rebecca, L. B. (2004). International petroleum encyclopaedia. Santa Clara: Penn Well Pub Co.Google Scholar
  48. Reuters. (2016). China to build second railway into restive Tibet.
  49. Riskin, C. (1987). China’s political economy: The quest for development since 1949, OUP.Google Scholar
  50. Robinson, J. (1968). The cultural revolution, international affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944–) (Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 214–227) (Apr, 1968).Google Scholar
  51. Schneider, A., Chang, C., & Paulsen, K. (2015). The changing spatial form of cities in Western China. Landscape and Urban Planning, 135, 40–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Shanzi, K. (2014). Domestic market integration and regional economic growth—China’s recent experience from 1995–2011. World Development, 66, 588–597.Google Scholar
  53. Shi, H., & Huang, S. (2014). How much infrastructure is too much? A new approach and evidence from China. World Development, 56, 272–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Singh, V. (1968). China’s cultural revolution. The Indian Journal of Political Science, 29(4), 329–334.Google Scholar
  55. Solomon, A. (1957). Transportation and commerce, in the Chinese economy. Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Song, S. (2009). Does famine have a long-term effect on Cohort mortality? Evidence from the 1959–1961 great leap forward famine in China. Journal of Biosocial Science, 41, 469–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Speece, M. W., & Kawahara, Y. (1995). Transportation in China in the 1990s. International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, 25(8).Google Scholar
  58. Tian, Q. (2004). China develops its west: Motivation, strategy and prospect. Journal of Contemporary China, 13(41) (November 611–636).Google Scholar
  59. Tian, X. (1998). Dynamics of development in an open economy: China since 1978. Commack, NY: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  60. Tracy, N. (1997). The south east: The cutting edge of China’s economic reform.Google Scholar
  61. Wang, S., & Angang, H. (1999). The Political Economy of Uneven Development, The case of China. Armonk, New York: M.E Sharpe.Google Scholar
  62. Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, S. (2008). The China Quarterly, 195, 704–706. doi: 10.1017/S0305741008000970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wolf, M. (2016). China’s future challenge for the world.
  64. World Bank. (2016). Container port traffic (TEU: 20 foot equivalent units).
  65. Wu, J. H., & Nash, C. (2000). Railway reform in China. Transport Reviews, 20(1).Google Scholar
  66. Wu, J., Xiang, W., & Zhao, J. (2014). Urban ecology in China: Historical developments and future directions. Landscape and Urban Planning, 125, 222–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wu, S., Li, S., & Lei, Y. (2016). Estimation of the contribution of exports to the provincial economy: An analysis based on China’s multi-regional input-output tables. SpringerPlus, 5, 210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wuu-Long, L., &Chen, P. T. (2004). China’s widening economic disparities and its go west program. Journal of Contemporary China, 13(41) (November 2004).Google Scholar
  69. Xiaobin, S. (1996). Spatial disparities and economic development in China. Development and Change, 27(1), 134–164 (January 1996).Google Scholar
  70. Xinhua. (2015). China unveils proposal for formulating 13th five year plan.
  71. Xu, X. (2002). Have the Chinese Provinces become integrated under reform? China Economic Review, 13.Google Scholar
  72. Yao, S. (1999). A note on the causal factors of China’s famine in 1959–1961. Journal of Political Economy, 107(6), 1365–1369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Yang, D. L. (1997). Beyond Beijing: Liberalization and the regions in China. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Yaser, M. (2012). Strategic Importance of Gwadar Port. Journal of Political Studies, 19(2), 57–69.Google Scholar
  75. Yang, F., Pan, S., & Yao, X. (2016a). Regional convergence and sustainable development in China. Sustainability, 8, 121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Yang, F., Zhang, D., & Sun, C. (2016b). China’s regional balanced development based on the investment in power grid infrastructure. Renewable Sustainable Energy Reviews, 53, 1549–1557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Yin, M., Bertolini, L., & Duan, J. (2015). The effects of the high-speed railway on urban development: International experience and potential implications for China. Progress in Planning, 98, 1–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Ying, L. G. (2000). Measuring the spillover effects. Papers in Regional Science, 79, 75–89.Google Scholar
  79. Yu, H. (2015). Railway sector reform in China: Controversy and problems. Journal of Contemporary China, 24, 96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Yu, N., De Jong, M., Storm, S., & Mi, J. (2012). Transport infrastructure, spatial clusters and regional economic growth in China. Transport Reviews, 32(1), 3–28. doi: 10.1080/01441647.2011.603104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Yu, N., De Jong, M., Storm, S., & Mi, J. (2013). Spatial spillover effects of transport infrastructure: Evidence from Chinese regions. Journal of Transport Geography, 28, 56–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Zhang, S., Gao, Y., Feng, Z., & Sun, W. (2015). PPP application in infrastructure development in China: Institutional analysis and implications. International Journal of Project Management, 33, 497–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Zhixiang, et al. (1997). The head and tail of the dragon: Shanghai and its economic Hinterland. In L. Linge (Ed.), China’s new spatial economy: Heading towards 2020.Google Scholar
  84. Zhu, D. J. (2008). A framework for deepening study of circular economy. Scientific and Social Society, 23(3), 445e452 (in Chinese).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations