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Impact of High-Speed Rail on Regional Economic Disparity in China
Prof. Kingsley E. Haynes, University Professor Emeritus of Public Policy, George Mason University; HKUST IAS Senior Visiting Fellow
Date : 11 Oct 2018 (Thursday)
Time : 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Venue : Lam Woo Lecture Theater (LT-B), HKUST
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This study investigates a fundamental question related to the massive railway infrastructure development in China: what impact high-speed rail (HSR) has on regional economic disparity. The question was investigated in three dimensions. First, the influence of HSR on regional economic disparity was discussed theoretically from the perspective of New Economic Geography. Second, the variation of economic disparity at both the national and regional levels was investigated using three indexes: weighted coefficient of variation, Theil index and Gini index. Third, the linkages between regional economic growth and HSR measured in terms of both quantity and quality were examined empirically in accordance to the endogenous growth modelling framework and using a panel data covering the period 2000 – 2014. Rail network density was adopted as a proxy to reflect the quantity change of rail investment, whereas three accessibility indicators (weighted average travel time, potential accessibility and daily accessibility) were introduced to capture the improvement of HSR transport quality. The speaker and his collaborator’s findings confirm that the development of HSR has a positive impact on promoting regional economic convergence in China after controlling for other key factors, such as capital investment, globalization, marketization, education and fiscal decentralization. Specifically, the stimulus effect from improved HSR accessibility on regional economic growth is found to be more significant in regions such as the Middle Reaches of Yangtze River, the Southwest and the South.


About the speaker

Prof. Kingsley Haynes received his PhD in Geography and Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. He was then on the faculty of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin in 1974 – 1978, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in 1978 – 1987, and the Department of Geography and Public Policy Program in Boston University in 1987 – 1990. He joined the George Mason University in 1990 as the Dean of the Graduate School and the Founding Dean of the School of Public Policy which he led until 2010. He is currently the Ruth D. Hazel and John T. Hazel, M.D. Faculty Chair in Public Policy, the Eminent Scholar, and the Professor of Public Policy, Decision Sciences, Geography and Public Affairs there.

Prof. Haynes’s academic interests include transportation and telecommunication infrastructure investment, regional economic development, and analytic modeling for decision support. He has directed numerous research grants and contracts, co-authored or edited 10 books and over 400 articles and professional reports. He is in the editorial board of several journals including Journal of Urban Management, The Annals of Regional Science: An International Journal of Urban Regional and Environmental Research and Policy, and Geographical Analysis: An International Journal of Theoretical Geography.

Prof. Haynes has been involved in regional economic development policy and natural resource management since the early 1970s. In US, He has worked with various departments of the state governments and the federal government on regional projects such as in Montana’s Yellowstone Basin, the Lake Michigan and Ohio River regions and the Texas Gulf Coast. Internationally, he directed programs for the Ford Foundation’s Office of Resources and Environment on the Nile River-Lake Nasser regions of Egypt and the Sudan. Besides, he was an originating member of the Decision, Risk and Management Sciences Panel of the National Science Foundation and served as a member of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Social, Economic and Political Sciences Section. He received numerous awards and accolades for his work and service including the North American Regional Science Council’s David Boyce Award in 1997, the James R. Anderson Medal of Honor in Applied Geography and the Edward L. Ullman Award in Transportation Geography, both by The Association of American Geographers, in 2000 and 2003 respectively.


For attendees’ attention


  The lecture is free and open to all. Seating is on a first come, first served basis.



HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study
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