Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (6): 1107-1120.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201806009

• Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of population agglomeration on urban economic growth in China

CHEN Le1(),LI Xun1,2(),YAO Yao3,CHEN Dongsheng1   

  1. 1. Geography Sciences and Planning School of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2. Urbanization Institute of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    3. School of Information Engineering, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • Received:2017-04-19 Online:2018-06-10 Published:2018-06-04
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571118]


Population agglomeration is the focus of New Economic Geography. However, so far, there is not enough evidence to prove that population agglomeration would promote China's urban economic growth, as it is difficult to obtain data of urban construction land in consecutive years. In this paper, we identify a new way of extracting DMSP/OLS nighttime light data, which could eliminate continuous years of spatial and temporal heterogeneity, to help us obtain data for a robust construction land area. We aim to analyze the effects and spatial disparity of population agglomeration on economic growth of 35 large cities in China from 2005 to 2013, based on a theoretical model of population density that influences per capita urban land revenue. The major results are as follows: population agglomeration has a significant positive impact on urban economic growth in China, and its impact is decreasing from the eastern, the central, to the western regions of China. The results also show that knowledge and human capital are the two main factors promoting urban economic growth in China. We also found that the effects of the ratio of intensive industry and the ratio of college teachers and students on urban incomes is decreasing from the eastern, central, to western regions, and its spatial distribution presents a similar tendency, which are the main reasons for the spatial differences in the effects of population agglomeration on urban economic growth.

Key words: population agglomeration, urban economic growth, nighttime light data, China