PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (2): 185-198.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2022.02.001

• Articles •     Next Articles

Characteristics, effects, and influencing factors of the relocation of administrative centers at or above the county level in China

ZHAO Biao(), WANG Kaiyong, ZHAO Yicai   

  1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2021-06-21 Revised:2021-08-21 Online:2022-02-28 Published:2022-04-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871151)


The scientific and reasonable siting of administrative centers directly affects the efficient allocation of resource elements, equality of basic public services, coordinated and balanced regional development, and modernization of national governance system and governance capacity. This study used spatial analysis and the difference-in-differences (DID) model to analyze the basic characteristics, mechanism, and economic effects of administrative center relocation in China since the reform and opening up in 1978. The results show that in terms of relocation characteristics, the higher the administrative level, the longer the relocation distance is, and the relocation is mainly concentrated after 2000, especially in North China, while the relocation distance in western China is generally much longer than that of other regions. In terms of relocation effects, the growth rates of population, economy, and construction land around the new administrative centers are obviously faster than that of the original administrative centers. On the whole, the relocation of administrative centers plays a certain role in promoting economic development, but there is also a clear spatial heterogeneity. In terms of the factors and mechanism of influence, the process is mainly influenced by the restriction of resources and environmental conditions, the promotion of old city planning and reconstruction, the guidance of the development and construction of new areas, the reform of the administrative system, and urban development strategies. The relocation of administrative centers is usually the result of the joint action of multiple factors.

Key words: administrative center, relocation effect, administrative division, government seat, difference-in-differences (DID) model