Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (10): 1970-1984.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201810011

• Industrial Layout and Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Transport investment, economic spatial aggregation, and multiple paths: A joint estimation by spatial panel and structural equation modeling

LIN Xiongbin1,2(),YANG Jiawen2,TAO Zhuolin2,SONG Jinping3,REN Ting4   

  1. 1. Department of Geography and Spatial Information Technology, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, China
    2. School of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong, China
    3. Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    4. HSBC Business School, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong, China
  • Received:2017-05-16 Online:2018-10-25 Published:2018-10-25
  • Supported by:
    Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 51678004;Junior Fellowships of CAST Advanced S&T Think-tank Program, No.DXB-ZKQN-2017-019


As one of the significant economic development tools, the transport investment's comprehensive economic effects considering spatiotemporal heterogeneity have attracted attention from different levels of government and private development sectors. Much of current literature, however, lacks a perspective of spatial differences and spatial linkages, and the relevant economic influential paths still need to be further examined. To fill this understanding gap, the paper attempts to understand the economic growth and spatial aggregation effects of transport investment and the potential influential paths based on a joint estimation by the spatial panel and structural equation modeling, respectively. The results of the study indicate that: (1) The significant economic growth, as well as economic impacts of spatial aggregation of transport investment are observed, but in general the effects would decrease after controlling the spatial autocorrelation issue; (2) The economic effects of the investment in transport sectors have considerable spatial and temporal differences. For areas with high level of urbanization and economic performance, the economic effect of transport investment is much higher and more significant. To some extent, transport investment in these areas exerts a more significant impact of spatial aggregation. The temporal effects show that from 1997 to 2015 the transport investment can reinforce the economic performance and the level of spatial aggregation. Also, the transport investments at the previous stage, in general, have a greater effect on economic growth, and would lead to a spatial decentralization trend of economic activities; (3) Transport investment can promote economic growth by direct and a variety of indirect pathways. The indirect pathways can affect the investments on the related industries, labor growth, and urbanization. These findings would provide some policy implications for the decision-making of transport investment in urban China.

Key words: transport investment, economic growth, spatial difference and aggregation, spatial panel analysis, structural equation modeling