JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2016, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (3): 390-401.doi: 10.11849/zrzyxb.20150051

• Resource Economics • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Urban Land Expansion, Economies of Scale and Quality of Economic Growth

ZHAO Ke1, XU Tang-qi2, ZHANG An-lu1   

  1. 1.College of Public Administration, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China;
    2.The School of Earth Science and Resources, Chang'an University, Xi'an 710054, China
  • Received:2015-01-16 Online:2016-03-15 Published:2016-03-15
  • Supported by:
    Key Project of Philosophy and Social Science of Ministry of Education, No.14JZD009National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.71403045, 71373095, 71363005 and 71573101; The Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, No.2662015BQ050

Abstract: Despite the fact that the relationship between urban land expansion and economic growth has been repeatedly studied in recent years, little attention has been paid to the effect of urban land expansion on the quality of economic growth. We propose that urban land expansion not only influences economic growth, but also has effect on the quality of economic growth through industrial structure upgrading, urbanization, ecological environmental change and economies of scale. This paper focuses on the effect of urban land expansion on the quality of economic growth through the change of economies of scale. We know that construction land expansion lays foundation for carrying on more capital investment, employment and industrial activity in urban area, and that land expansion is helpful to enlarge the scope of market and to attract more companies and population to concentrate in cities, therefore it improves agglomerative and scale economy. But if the city is too big to be beyond the optimal scale, urban land expansion will bring more administrative, transportation and environmental costs, resulting in a negative impact on the quality of economic growth. Therefore there may be inverted U-shaped relationship between urban land expansion and quality of economic growth. To explore the relationship between them, econometric method was used to analyze relevant data of China during the period of 2001-2012. The sample of this study includes 30 provinces except Tibet autonomous in mainland China due to incomplete statistics. Our results showed that the inverted U-shaped curve between urban land expansion and scale efficiency existed in the space dimensions of the central area, the western area and the whole country, but not statistically significant in the eastern area. Secondly, the results showed that the conclusion is robust that urban land expansion has negative effect on total factor productivity through economies of scale in four spatial dimensions, indicating that urban land has exceeded the optimal scale, and capital, land and labor are not in the best proportion. Thirdly, the results found that human capital, urbanization, industrial structure upgrading, and infrastructure have positive impact on the quality of economic growth, which are consistent with other literature conclusions. The contribution of this paper is that we have explored the effect of urban land expansion on total factor productivity, while other studies focus on the effect on economic growth. The results have two implications for making polices. The first one is that urban land expansion should be controlled within a reasonable range to meet the needs of economic development and residents living. The second one is that land use efficiency should be intensified to a greater extent. Land use intensity would substitute for urban land expansion to reduce land investment.

CLC Number: 

  • F293.2