Zhengyun Sun

Explaining Regional Disparities of China's Economic Growth: Policy or Geography?

Astonishing development that China has achieved for the past 30 years following the Open and Reform in 1978 is unquestionable. What behind, however, is notable disparity of growth between coastal and inland regions. While previous studies focus on preferential policies, the crux of my project centers on answering the question: how geographic features and construction of transportation networks on top of policies explain economic growth of Chinese regions in the last three decades? My analysis will assess the relative importance of geographic features, transportation networks and preferential policies during each policy stage defined by Open and Reform in 1980s favoring the coast, general open door stage that eliminated coastal policy advantages in 1990s and Western Development Drives targeting inland regions after 2000. The results will hint on how development policies should and could overcome specific barriers to economic growth and to achieve balanced overall growth.

Message to Sponsor

SURF provides an invaluable opportunity to expand the horizon of my academic life, as I could be a researcher who discover and create new knowledge. The fund and supporting resources allow and help me to truly engage in my research topic in greater depth. I am grateful to SURF as the program offers me a chance to explore the question that I have been thinking for years. Thanks to this opportunity, I could also get a taste of the life as a researcher, constantly asking questions and looking for better solutions.
  • Major: Economics, Applied Math, Geography
  • Sponsor: Wishek Fund
  • Mentor: Bryan Graham, Economics