Three Essays on Urban Economics
Room 3301 (Lift 17-18), 3/F, Academic Building, HKUST


The three essays study significant urban issues in contemporary China.

Chapter 1 examines the determinants and economic efficiency of state-led urbanization, focusing on China's skyscraper development. Local governments have subsidized skyscraper development through discounted land prices. However, 10 years after completion, these subsidized skyscrapers yield few spatial spillovers due to poor location, less reliable developers, and inadequate infrastructure.

Chapter 2 documents how real income for skilled and unskilled households varies across Chinese cities. Although housing costs in larger cities are substantial, they partly offset nominal income gains. A bell-shaped curve is observed between real income and population size, with housing costs exceeding nominal income gains in the largest cities.

Chapter 3 provides the first theory and evidence on the role of presale policies in the residential housing market. We construct a novel dataset of unfinished projects, presale policies, and land auction outcomes across 270 major cities in China. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the average bundle of presale policies is inferior to the Pareto frontier in our sampled cities.

Speakers / Performers:
Mr. Ziyang CHEN