SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (11): 1912-1922.doi: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2022.11.006

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The Impact of High-speed Railway on the Industrial Structure of County-level Units: Taking the Yangtze River Delta as an Example

Shi Dehao1(), Yu Tao2(), Wang Lei3,4   

  1. 1. Department of Geography and Resource Management, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
    2. School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, Jiangsu, China
    3. Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, Jiangsu, China
    4. Planning and Landscape, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, M13 9PL, United Kingdom
  • Received:2021-10-29 Revised:2022-02-13 Accepted:2022-07-15 Online:2022-11-30 Published:2022-11-20
  • Contact: Yu Tao;


Along with the rapid construction and extent of the high-speed railway network, almost all prefecture-level cities have enjoyed high-speed railway services, especially in the southeast coastal region. Therefore, the main body of high-speed railway construction has been transferred from connecting prefecture-level units to county-level units. However, current studies have rarely paid attention to the impact of the high-speed railway on county-level units. The purpose of this article is to explore what changes will take place in the industrial structure of county-level units after the opening of the high-speed railway and its mechanism. Taking the Yangtze River Delta as an example, it was evident that the sequence of high-speed rail opening and the evolution process of industrial structure in this region have significant synchronization. With the usage of socio-economic panel data of all county-level units in this region from 2000 to 2017, this article measured the impact of high-speed railways on the industrial structure through the time-varying difference-in-differences model and employed sub-grouping, threshold effect and mediation model to explore the mechanism of high-speed rail effect. The results of the study are listed as follows: 1) The opening of the high-speed railway will promote upgrading the industrial structure of county-level units, which is composed of the dispersion of the secondary industry and the aggregation of the tertiary industry. 2) Population size has partial mediating effect on the high-speed rail effect, but there is no threshold mutation within the population size range of the counties and county-level cities in the Yangtze River Delta. 3) The secondary and tertiary industries have different time-laggings in the effect of the opening of the high-speed railway, resulting in two window periods for the transformation of the county-level unit industrial structure. When the county-level units apply for the high-speed railway project, it is necessary to judge their industrial characteristics prudently. And they should follow the law of industrial evolution after opening the high-speed rail and formulate targeted policies to encourage or hedge.

Key words: high-speed railway, county-level units, industrial structure, time-varying difference-in-differences, the Yangtze River Delta

CLC Number: 

  • F532.8