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Trains of Thought: High-Speed Rail and Innovation in China

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  • Georgios TSIACHTSIRAS
  • Deyun YIN
  • Ernest MIGUELEZ
  • Rosina MORENO

Abstract

This paper explores the effect of the High Speed Rail (HSR) network expansion on local innovation in China during the period 2008-2016. Using exogenous variation arising from a novel instrument - courier’s stations during the Ming dynasty, we find solid evidence that the opening of a HSR station increases cities’ innovation activity. We also explore the role of inter-city technology diffusion as being behind the surge of local innovation. To do it, we compute least-cost paths between city-pairs, over time, based on the opening and speed of each HSR line, and obtain that an increase in a city’s connectivity to other cities specialized in a specific technological field, through the HSR network, increases the probability for the city to specialize in that same technological field. We interpret it as evidence of knowledge diffusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Georgios TSIACHTSIRAS & Deyun YIN & Ernest MIGUELEZ & Rosina MORENO, 2022. "Trains of Thought: High-Speed Rail and Innovation in China," Bordeaux Economics Working Papers 2022-24, Bordeaux School of Economics (BSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:grt:bdxewp:2022-24
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    high speed rail; innovation; technology diffusion; patents; specialization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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