China’s Bullet Trains Facilitate Market Integration and Mitigate the Cost of Megacity Growth

Posted: 11 Nov 2019

See all articles by Siqi Zheng

Siqi Zheng

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Real Estate; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Urban Studies & Planning; Hang Lung Center for Real Estate, Tsinghua University

Matthew E. Kahn

University of Southern California; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 30, 2019

Abstract

Megacity growth in the developing world is fueled by a desire to access their large local labor markets. Growing megacities suffer from high levels of traffic congestion and pollution, which degrade local quality of life. Transportation technology that allows individuals to access the megacity without living within its boundaries offers potentially large social benefits, because individuals can enjoy the benefits of urban agglomeration while not paying megacity real estate rents and suffering from the city’s social costs. This paper presents evidence supporting the claim that China’s bullet trains are playing this role. The bullet train is regarded as one of the most significant technological breakthroughs in passenger transportation developed in the second half of the 20th century. Starting in 2007, China has introduced several new bullet trains that connect megacities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou with nearby cities. Through facilitating market integration, bullet trains will stimulate the development of second- and third-tier cities. By offering households and firms a larger menu of location alternatives, bullet trains help to protect the quality of life of the growing urban population. We document that this transport innovation is associated with rising real estate prices in the nearby secondary cities.

Suggested Citation

Zheng, Siqi and Kahn, Matthew E., China’s Bullet Trains Facilitate Market Integration and Mitigate the Cost of Megacity Growth (October 30, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3478260

Siqi Zheng

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Real Estate ( email )

Building 9-323
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://siqizheng.mit.edu/

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Urban Studies & Planning ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Hang Lung Center for Real Estate, Tsinghua University ( email )

HeShanHeng Building
Beijing, 100084
China

HOME PAGE: http://https://siqizheng.mit.edu/

Matthew E. Kahn (Contact Author)

University of Southern California ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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