Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2005, Vol. 60 ›› Issue (4): 615-625.doi: 10.11821/xb200504010

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Temporal and Spatial Changes of Urban Efficiency in the 1990s

LI Xun1, XU Xianxiang2, CHEN Haohui3   

  1. 1. The Center for Urban and Regional Studies, Zhongshan University, Guangzhou 510275, China;
    2. Lingnan College, Zhongshan University, Guangzhou 510275, China;
    3. School of Geographical Sciences and Planning, Zhongshan University,Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2005-01-04 Revised:2005-05-10 Online:2005-07-25 Published:2005-07-25
  • Supported by:

    '985 Project' of GIS and Remote Sensing for Geosciences from the Ministry of Education of China, No.105203200400006; Kiriyama Foundation, Key Research Center of Guangdong Fundation, No.03JDXM79002


Based on the data from 23 cities in 1983 and 1984, Charnes (1989) the first to employ DEA to evaluate the urban efficacy in China. Surprisingly, the corresponding Chinese literature has been in dark, even though scholars have highly recognized DEA and frequently used DEA in economic management and analysis. We, therefore, attempt to employ DEA to evaluate all the cities efficiency. Based on the data from 202 cities through 1990 to 2000, we find that the urban efficiency is relatively low, and diminishing from the east to the west, which coincides with the spatial pattern of economic development in China at present. Decomposing the urban efficiency into scale efficiency, congestion efficiency and pure technical efficiency, we further find it is the scale efficiency that determines the temporal and spatial patterns of urban efficiency. Specifically, both the congestion efficiency and the pure technical efficiency are high, and uniformly distributed across provinces. Scale efficiency, however, is low, and the principal factor among the three decompositions results in the low urban efficiency in China. The findings shed some highlights on how to implement the coordinated development of cities in China at present.

Key words: DEA, urban efficiency, urban scale efficiency, China