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

Georgios Tsiachtsiras (), Deyun Yin (), Ernest Miguelez () and Rosina Moreno ()
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Georgios Tsiachtsiras: University of Bristol and University of Bath, United Kingdom.
Rosina Moreno: AQR-IREA, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

No 202220, IREA Working Papers from University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics

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.

Keywords: High speed rail; Innovation; Technology Diffusion; Patents; Specialization. JEL classification: R40; O18; O30; O33. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 61 pages
Date: 2022-11, Revised 2022-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna, nep-sbm, nep-tid, nep-tre and nep-ure
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