Quantitative measurement of economic development imbalance among urban agglomerations in China

WANG Qing1 JIN Chun1,2

(1.School of Economics, Liaoning University)
(2.School of Economics and Management, Qiqihaer University)

【Abstract】Research Objectives: This article measures and analyzes the economic development imbalance among urban agglomerations in China. Research Methods: Using Factor Analysis method and Gini Coefficient and Theil Index. Research Findings: The economic development level of various urban agglomeration shows significant imbalances in the spatial distribution. Though it is within a reasonable range and it hasn’t crossed the line yet, there is a risk of imbalanced development. With the progressive implementation of the regional synergetic development strategy, the economic development imbalance among urban agglomerations has been relieved. Research Innovations: This article takes eight typical urban agglomeration in eastern, central, western and northeast regions of China as basic space units, and performs quantitative study on the economic development imbalance. Research Value: The results of this study have important policy implications for promoting the coordinated development of urban agglomeration.

【Keywords】 economic development level; imbalance; urban agglomeration; coordinated development;


【Funds】 Established Project of the “Thirteenth Five-Year Plan” of Liaoning Education Science (JG17DB229)

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    [1]. ① Regional development imbalance is often described in terms of regional economic differences, regional economic disparities and regional income disparities by the academic community. Therefore, in the literature review and the following elaboration in this paper, the original expressions of the relevant literature are followed instead of being treated uniformly.

    [2]. ② The selection of indicators is based on the results of multiple cycles of yearbook data, expert assessments and factor analysis. After comparison and screening, this paper improved the indicator design, weighed the data availability, factor analysis validity, theory and policy implications, and finally selected a group of 13 indicators to reflect the level of economics development of each city cluster.

    [3]. ③ It is mainly based on documents including the National Main Functional Area Plan, the Outline of the Reform and Development Plan for the Pearl River Delta Region (2008–2020), the Outline of Regional Plan for the Yangtze River Delta Region, the Regional Planning of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Metropolitan Area, the Regional Plan of Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone and the Development Plan of Urban Agglomeration in the Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River.

    [4]. ④ The Yangtze River Delta urban agglomeration originally included 16 cities listed here. The Regional Planning of the Yangtze River Delta Region (2010–2015) listed 25 cities in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang as core area and radiation area, and the 16 cities listed here are core areas. To maintain data consistency and integrity, this paper still selected 16 cities as research objects.

    [5]. ⑤ Due to space limitation, the comprehensive scores of the economic development levels of all cities from 2000 to 2015 are not listed here, but more details are available upon request.


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This Article



Vol 35, No. 11, Pages 77-94

November 2018


Article Outline



  • 1 Introduction and literature review
  • 2 Measurement model of the economic development imbalance
  • 3 Measurement of the economic development level of every city
  • 4 Analysis of the economic development imbalance among urban agglomerations
  • 5 Conclusions and suggestions
  • Footnote