The Economics of Urban Growth in China

China’s urbanization over the last three decades has been unprecedented in human history – 260 million migrants have moved to cities, supporting rapid economic growth and development. Over the next 30 years, an additional 300 million Chinese are likely to move to cities. This unprecedented urbanization wave has not only changed the lives of hundreds of millions, but modified the world’s political, economic, and environmental landscapes. Professor Zheng directs this research project toward urban economics questions with policy and business applications, with a focus on evaluating the impacts of major urban and sustainability policies, and designing new policies toward efficient, inclusive, and sustainable urbanization in China. Recently she has focused on the efficiency gain and misallocation cost of place-based policies, such as industrial parks and high-speed rail. Zheng is examining whether such place-based investments raise urban productivity or cause resource misallocation, the causes and consequences.