PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2011, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (8): 1037-1046.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2011.08.011

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Spatial-temporal Evolution of Regional Economic Pattern at Prefecture Level in China: 1990-2008

WANG Yang1,2, XIU Chunliang3   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. Department of Geography, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
  • Received:2010-10-01 Revised:2011-02-01 Online:2011-08-25 Published:2011-08-25

Abstract: Although the increasing regional economic pattern of China is commented and studied extensively, relatively few studies are available on small spatial units, level of economic development and economic growth rate. The focus of this research is to examine spatial inequality, polarization and autocorrelation of the economy in China. Population and GDP data for prefectures in the period 1990-2008 were used. Level of economic development, economic growth rate and economic status were evaluated with Gini coefficient, Theil index, Wolfson index, H index, ESDA and specific gravity method. Main driving factors and the mode of evolution were then summarized.
The research reveals that (1) there has been an overall upward trend of spatial inequality and polarization since 1990, and it has been still obvious since 2003; (2) economic hotspot areas include coastal urban agglomerations, provincial capitals and special resource-concentrated cities. There exists an increasing gap between economic hotspot areas and other regions; (3) the trend of spatial conglomeration of the level of economic development and economic growth rate at prefecture level in China is obvious, which is also interrelated to economic growth rate of the whole country; (4) the main driving factors of the evolution of regional economic pattern can be identified, such as economic location, regional development policy, special resources and background of historical development.

Key words: China, devisions at prefecture level, polarization, regional economy, spatial autocorrelation