Tropical Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (4): 589-603.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003253

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Research Progress and Prospects of Cooperation Zones: Cooperation Type, Cooperation Motivation, and Cooperation Effect

Peng Zhang1,2(), Wen Chen1,3(), Jiawei Wu1, Feng Yuan1   

  1. 1.Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China
    2.Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China
    3.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4.College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2019-07-08 Revised:2020-01-15 Online:2020-07-31 Published:2020-08-11
  • Contact: Wen Chen;


As a means of inter-regional resource complementarity and win-win cooperation, cooperation zones play an important role in promoting coordinated regional development, narrowing regional gap, enhancing the regional whole competitiveness, and achieving high-quality regional integration. Cooperation zones are a significant topic in trans-regional cooperation research. Correlational research employs the enclave economy theory, the space production and space restructuring theories, the social capital theory, growth alliance, and the cross-border region theory to explore the type, cooperation impetus, and effects of cooperation zones through the lens of collaborative agents, management systems, spatial governance, and benefit sharing. This research adopts the relevant theories of geography to promote innovative research in cooperation zones. The research methods for the classification of cooperation zones mainly include stakeholder, organizational behavior, and empirical case comparison analyses. The diverse types of cooperation zones form a hierarchical classification system, according to the main body of participation, the form of cooperative governance, and the industrial functions of a park. The cooperation impetus includes government-driven, market-driven, social-driven, and benefit sharing driven, and the driving forces interact. The combination of government and market factors is the key driving force for cooperation. The driving force of government gradually gives way to market-driven forces. Common interests are the core element of cooperation, and benefit sharing is the prime power for the development of cooperation zones. Benefit coordination is the key to their sustainable development, while benefit compensation mechanisms among cooperating subjects constantly innovate. The cooperation effect is various and comprehensive. By fostering regional economic growth poles, cooperation zones can promote regional economic growth and speed up the free flow of elements and industrial transfer between regions. This, in turn, promotes industrial layout optimization, transformation, and upgrading. In addition, the cooperation effect also manifests in narrowing the gap in regional economic development, promoting regional coordinated development, accelerating urbanization progress, strengthening inter-regional economic cooperation, and improving regional comprehensive competitiveness. However, problems persist. The classification criteria of some types are not unified; the quantitative research and coupling relationship studies on cooperation motivation are insufficient; the research on cooperation effect lags behind and lacks scientific and objective systematic evaluation systems. Therefore, this paper makes a prospect of innovative research on cooperation zones that can focus on three aspects. 1) Few studies have covered the types, dynamics, and effects of cooperation. The systematic and comprehensive study of cooperation zones should be further strengthened and innovated. 2) Regional cooperative governance’s reflection in cooperation zones has been preliminarily discussed; however, in-depth theoretical research on the driving mechanism of trans-regional cooperation governance must be further explored. 3) Current research focuses on the development of cooperation zones. At the macro level, cooperation zone research can also be extended to the evaluation of regional integration policies. Future in-depth theoretical and empirical studies on evaluating regional integration policies should be carried out based on the case of cooperation zones.

Key words: cooperation zone, cooperation type, cooperation motivation, cooperation effect

CLC Number: 

  • K902