drivers of land cover change



This study examines whether locationally preferential tax incentives for firms encourage differential urban expansion in China. Using satellite-based data from 1978 to 2009, we find that zones established early tend to have large and persistent effects, and that provincially driven zones have little impact relative to those designated by national authorities. Zones established later tend only to have effects where cities already had an export-advantageous position. We conclude that such policies can encourage differential growth in the presence of significant distortions in the rest of the economy, but become less effective as these distortions are removed.

Recent publications

Alix-Garcia, J., Schneider, A., Zhao, N. (2015). Playing favorites: Tax incentives and urban growth in China, 1978-2010. Land Economics, accepted.

Schneider, A., Chang, C., Paulsen, K. (2015). The changing spatial form of cities in Western China. Landscape and Urban Planning, vol. 135, p. 40-61.

Schneider, A., Mertes, C. (2014). Expansion and growth in Chinese cities, 1978-2010. Environmental Research Letters, vol. 9, 024008.

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Research questions

What factors influence differential rates and patterns of land cover change?

Research team

Annemarie Schneider, Jennifer Alix-Garcia, Kurt Paulsen, Chaoyi Chang, Na Zhao, Carly Mertes

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