Tropical Geography ›› 2021, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (6): 1258-1269.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003400

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Influence of Population Mobility and Migration on the Original Economic Gap and Spatial Spillover Effect in the Yangtze River Economic Belt

Yongming Zenga,b(), Zepingand Wang Yaoyao Luoa,b   

  1. a.School of Economics, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang 330013, China
    b.Institute of Ecological Economics, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang 330013, China
  • Received:2020-12-29 Revised:2021-06-16 Online:2021-11-05 Published:2021-11-16


The difference in endowment and the implementation of the gradient development strategy have promoted the large-scale cross-regional migration of China's population and have led to a close relationship between population mobility and migration and the spatial pattern of regional development. There has always been a debate about whether population mobility and migration have an expanding or narrowing effect on the regional economic gap. Therefore, the study revisits the topic and uses panel data on 104 cities in the Yangtze River Economic Belt from 2001 to 2017, fully considering spatial dependence based on spatial econometrics models. The main findings are as follows: First, for the global regional economic gap, there is an inverted "U"-shaped nonlinear relationship between population mobility, population migration, and the economic gap, with an expansion effect in the early stage and a convergence effect in the later stage. This is in line with China's gradient development strategy, and is consistent with the phased development concept of "the first rich lead the second rich, ultimately achieving common prosperity." Second, regarding the provincial regional economic gap, population mobility manifests itself as an expansion effect initially and a convergence effect afterward, while population migration only manifests as an expansion effect without a convergence effect. The difference in the effects of population mobility and population migration may be due to the spatial transformation of the economic behavior and resource allocation owing to the latter's household registration (hukou) change, as population migration is a direct output of the economic behavior of the emigration area. Services will be reduced, and the agglomeration effect in moving-in areas will further widen the regional economic gap with moving-out areas. Third, having considered the spatial effect, judging the endogenous relationship between population mobility and migration and the regional economic gap has become relatively complex but more comprehensive and objective; the decomposition of the spatial effect shows that population mobility and population migration are ultimately conducive to the balanced development of the region, in which the spillover effect plays an important role. The study's marginal contribution is breaking the simplified study of the linear relationship between population mobility, migration, and the regional economic gap. The inclusion of spatial effects confirms the non-linear relationship between them. The conclusion is consistent with the reality of the regional development process in China. This study shows that population mobility and migration are not only conducive to regional economic growth but are also conducive to regional economic equilibrium. Therefore, it is beneficial to rationally guide and promote the population flow among regions, and to further reform the household registration system. In future, it will be necessary to deepen the study of the geographical process of population flow and of the law of temporal and spatial evolution and its effect on regional development, paying special attention to the protection of the welfare rights of the floating population.

Key words: population mobility and migration, regional economic gap, spillover effect, balanced development, the Yangtze River Economic Belt

CLC Number: 

  • F249.27