Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2015, Vol. 70 ›› Issue (6): 965-979.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201506010

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial spillover effects and multi-mechanism for regional development in Guangdong province since 1990s

Shaojian WANG1,2,3(), Yang WANG4(), Yabo ZHAO5   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2 Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. Guangzhou Institute of Geography, Guangzhou 510070, China
    5. School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2014-09-18 Revised:2015-02-13 Online:2015-06-20 Published:2015-06-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41401164


Under the background of global economic integration, regional economic growth is not isolated in geographical space. Economic growth relies on both internal and external factors. At the regional level, global economic integration shows the form of regional and local economic cooperation and integration. In the open economic system, regions struggle for more benefits through adjusting local development policies. Propelled by the new round of economic growth and urbanization, China's regional economic development presents a trend of much more profound regional cooperation. Therefore, this paper intends to explore the spatial spillover effects of regional economic growth by analyzing the case of Guangdong province from 1990 to 2010. Located in South China, Guangdong has witnessed dramatic development since the reform and opening-up started, and has become the largest economic region in China. However, behind its economic success, it is facing great challenges arising from unbalanced growth and intensified social injustice. Generally, Guangdong can be divided into four parts, namely, the Pearl River Delta, eastern Guangdong, western Guangdong and northern Guangdong, among them, the Pearl River Delta developed much better and faster. This is because the Pearl River Delta region attracted more capital investments and human resources with better natural resources, location conditions and supporting policies. As a result, increasing regional inequality and differences threatens national unity and social stability to some extent. Hence, regional disparity becomes an important issue in Guangdong's geographical research, as well as in regional development studies. In this paper, the scale variance analysis and statistics showed that the regional development at the county level made the greatest contribution among the three scales of county, municipality and region. The Kernel density estimation indicated that there was an increasing inequality in GDP per capita at county level from 1990 to 2010. Moreover, the inequality in 2000-2010 was larger than that in 1990-2000. The spatial Markov chain analysis revealed that the spatial spillover effects did exist in economic development at county-level, which means, if a county is adjacent to a richer county, its economy has a relatively high possibility to increase, and vice versa. The spatial lag regression model and the geographically weighted regression analyses indicated that globalization, decentralization and investments were the core driving forces of Guangdong's spatial spillover effects, and marketization, urbanization and savings were the secondary driving forces for increasing the regional inequality.

Key words: scale variance, Kernel density estimation, spatial spillover effect, spatial Markov chain, geographically weighted regression, Guangdong province