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Urban China Lecture Series featuring  Zhang Qinghua – From Government to Governance: Evidence from District Border Adjustments in China

March 26 @ 8:30 am 10:00 am

Speaker:  Zhang Qinghua, Peking University

This talk delves into the impact of within-city administrative border adjustments on individual firm productivity and local economic development. Employing a unique quasi-natural experiment conducted in China since the 1990s, the empirical analysis reveals that district border adjustments have a significant positive effect on the TFP of manufacturing firms in the adjusted districts. The firms situated in the border towns of the districts reap the most benefits. Further investigation into the mechanism indicates that district border adjustments enhance firms’ productivity by 1) internalizing the positive externalities generated by agglomeration economies of industry clusters, 2) removing extra administrative costs for firms situated in the border towns, and 3) helping alleviate the spatial constraints faced by high-density core districts. These adjustments ultimately lead to enhanced industry specialization and more efficient capital allocation at the district level. The study also shows that district border adjustments have a significantly positive impact on the overall economic development of border towns, as evidenced by the increased intensity of nightlights.

Dr. Qinghua Zhang holds a professorship in the Department of Applied Economics at Guanghua School of Management, Peking University. She also serves as the director of Peking University’s Center for Energy Economics and Sustainable Growth. Currently, she is a visiting scholar at MIT’s Center for Real Estate. Dr. Zhang got her Ph.D. in economics from Brown University in 2003. Her research is focused on Urban Economics, Public Finance, Environmental Economics and Search and Matching. She has published in esteemed economic journals such as the Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Monetary Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Rand Journal of Economics, and the Journal of Econometrics. Dr. Zhang currently sits on the Editorial Board of both the Journal of Urban Economics and the Journal of Housing Economics.

We would like to thank the MIT Sustainable Urbanization Lab, the Ashoka University Centre for China Studies, the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning, the University at Buffalo (SUNY), and the Harvard Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies for supporting this event. Please subscribe to our mailing list if you’d like to receive e-mail notifications: http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/urbanchinaseminar.

Zoom Meeting Link: https://mit.zoom.us/j/92743598127


March 26
8:30 am – 10:00 am
Event Category:


Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies


Presented via Zoom

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