拉平计划对区域不平衡发展的影响
The Effect of “Leveling Up” Policy on Uneven Regional Development
作者:Nobel Ding
2021-10-25
摘要:“拉平”政策证明很难达到政策制定者的预期效果,但会滋生寻租行为。

正如国家和洲际之间存在财富差异一样,国家内部不同地区之间也存在不平衡的发展。迪顿(2019)警告说,英国在工资、健康和就业机会方面的显著不平等正在威胁着英国的民主。世界上最大的两个经济体:美国和中国,同样存在区域发展不平衡的冲突。不平衡发展的概念是由托洛茨基(1932)首次提出的,他认为这将是历史上最常见的现象。史密斯(2006)指出,虽然在20世纪初就提出了不平衡发展的概念,但在接下来的半个世纪里没有找到解决办法。为了结束这种情况,鲍里斯·约翰逊在选举中承诺将“拉平”英国表现不佳的地区。鉴于高价值的经济部门集中在伦敦等大城市,“拉平”能解决英国区域发展不平衡的问题吗?答案是否定的。

Just as there are differences in wealth between countries and continents, there are also uneven developments between different regions within countries. Deaton (2019) warned that significant inequalities in salary, health, and employment opportunities in the UK are threatening the British democracy. The world's two largest economies –the United States and China –also have conflicts of uneven regional development. The concept of uneven development was first proposed by Trotsky (1932) who believed that it would be the most common phenomenon in history. Smith (2006) pointed out that although the concept of uneven development was proposed at the beginning of the 20th century, no solution was found for the next half-century. To end this, Boris Johnson’s flagship election has pledged to “level up” the UK’s underperforming regions. Given that high-value economic sectors are concentrated in big cities such as London, can "leveling up" solve UK's uneven regional development? The answer is negative.


在意识到区域发展不平衡的严重性后,各国都相继出台了“拉平”政策。但是,这些政策一般都收效甚微。从原因上看,区域发展不平衡是地理、经济、社会、历史、政策等诸多因素相互作用的结果。资源配置的有效性会导致自然的不平衡,负面的外部条件也可能影响区域发展的平衡(Kline and Moretti,2014)。Williamson(1965)认为,政府政策是区域发展不平衡的动力之一,而市场经济并不强调发展不平衡的问题。Kaldor(1970)认为,区域发展不平衡是一种长期积累。他把不平衡发展与区域经济和出口等因素结合起来,解释了区域的整体发展。Shankar和Shah(2003)根据20世纪90年代末的数据对8个发达国家和18个发展中国家进行了比较,发现发展中国家的区域发展不平衡程度更高。各种因素的长期相互作用使得目前的 “拉平”措施无法对缓解这一问题产生重大影响。

After realizing the seriousness of uneven regional development, various countries have successively introduced “leveling up” policies. However, these policies generally have little effect. From the perspective of causes, uneven regional development results from the interaction of many factors such as geography, economy, society, history, and policies. The effectiveness of resource allocation will lead to natural imbalances, and negative externalities might also affect the balance of regional development (Kline and Moretti, 2014). Williamson (1965) believed that government policy is one of the driving forces of uneven regional development, while market economy does not emphasize the issue of uneven development. Kaldor (1970) argued that uneven regional development is a long-term accumulation. He combined uneven development with factors such as regional economy and exports to explain overall regional development. Shankar and Shah (2003) compared eight developed countries with 18 developing countries based on data from the late 1990s and found that the degree of uneven regional development in developing countries is higher. The long-term interaction of various factors makes the current "leveling up" measures unable to have a significant effect on mitigating the issue.


从政策效果的角度看,“拉平”措施甚至可能没有必要。Giles(2020)认为,一些国家的不平等程度基本上是由于城市地区的划分造成的。例如,当涉及行政边界时,英国的不平等程度在所有国家中排名第一,美国排名第14。当提及城市边界时,英国的不平等程度排名第七,显示出明显的下降,而美国则排名第二。Holt和Lyne(2020)发现,从2010年到2019年,英国城市的不平等程度没有增加。在他们的研究中,他们认为,一些国家的高度不平等是由于其领先城市的过度表现。例如,德国和英国在表现不佳的地区有着相似的发展水平,但伦敦的表现却比慕尼黑好得多。这也造成了一种错觉,即英国的不平等程度比德国高。因此,对于这样一个非常规的城市,“拉平”措施就失去了其合理性。

From the perspective of policy effects, "leveling up" measures might not even be necessary. Giles (2020) believes that the degree of inequality in some countries is essentially due to the division of urban areas. For example, when considering administrative boundaries, the UK ranks first among all countries in terms of inequality and the US ranks 14th. When using city boundaries, the UK ranked seventh in the degree of inequality, showing a significant drop, while the US ranked second. Holt and Lyne (2020) found that the degree of inequality in cities in the UK did not increase from 2010 to 2019. In their study, they argue that the high degree of inequality in some countries is due to the excessive performance of their leading cities. For examples, Germany and the UK have similar development levels in the underperforming regions, but London’s performance is much better than Munich. This also creates the illusion that the degree of inequality in the UK is higher than that in Germany. Thus, with respect to such an "abnormal" city, the "leveling up" measures lose their rationality.

 

事实上,解决区域发展不平衡的问题并不一定需要有针对性的区域政策。Silveira-Neto和Azzoni(2011)分析了巴西区域发展不平衡的来源,并得出结论,劳动生产率和政府的非空间政策可以帮助减少区域不平等。具体政策包括改变最低工资和收入转移计划。缓解区域发展不平衡的核心可能还在于“不平衡”而不是“区域”。不针对区域而针对不平等的政策,例如通过改革结构、支持中小企业等创造更多有用的工作机会,可以有效地改善就业状况,从而减少收入差距问题(Zhuang等,2014)。拉平政策可以通过改善交通和劳动力培训等项目减少社会不平等。然而,它不能减少大城市的孤立效应。它需要社会政策的补充,如公共住房的建设,以解决区域不平等问题(Gavrel等人,2015)。

In fact, the resolution of uneven regional development does not necessarily require targeted regional policies. Silveira-Neto and Azzoni (2011) analyzed the sources of uneven regional development in Brazil and concluded that labor productivity and the government's non-spatial policies can help reduction in regional inequality. Specific policies include changes to the minimum wage and income transfer plan. The core of alleviating uneven regional development might also lie in the “uneven” and not the “regional”. Policies that do not target regions but inequality, for example, creating more useful jobs by reforming structure, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, etc., can effectively improve the employment scenario, thereby reducing the problem of income gap (Zhuang et al., 2014). The "leveling up" policy can reduce social inequality through projects such as improving the transportation and labor training. However, it cannot reduce the isolation effect of large cities. It needs to be supplemented by social policies, such as the construction of public housing, to address regional inequality (Gavrel et al., 2015).


在实施“拉平”政策时,大多数国家会遇到两个问题。第一,生产力效率降低。“拉平”可能会降低发达地区或城市的生产力,进一步削弱大城市的集聚效应。格雷厄姆和吉本斯对全球47个城市的研究(2019)表明,城市人口与城市生产力成正比。如果大城市的生产力尚未饱和,“拉平”政策带来的劳动力流动可能导致大城市的生产力危机;第二,经济和社会之间存在矛盾。鼓励萧条地区的经济发展和控制繁荣地区的增长,都可能与社会福利的分配产生矛盾。失业地区的工业化将有利于经济的发展,但也会造成社会压力,如交通拥堵、教育和医疗设施有限,并造成污染。繁荣地区的离心化导致无法充分利用社会资本,导致例如学校和医院资源的浪费。

When implementing the "leveling up" policy, most countries encounter two problems: First, the productivity efficiency is reduced. "Leveling up" might reduce the productivity of the developed regions or cities and further weaken the agglomeration effect of large cities. Graham and Gibbons’s research (2019) on 47 cities around the world shows that the urban population is directly proportional to urban productivity. If the productivity of big cities is not yet saturated, the labor mobility brought by the “leveling up” policy might lead to a productivity crisis in big cities. Second, a contradiction exists between the economy and society. Encouraging economic development in depressed areas and controlling growth in prosperous areas are both likely to contradict the distribution of social welfare. The industrialization of unemployed areas will be beneficial to the economy, but it can also cause social pressures such as traffic congestion, limited education, and medical facilities and cause pollution. The centrifugalization of prosperous regions has led to the inability to make full use of social capital, leading to, for example, the waste of school and hospital resources.


大城市中高端经济部门的成功聚集往往不是由政府推动的。克鲁格曼(1991)认为,偶然性、路径依赖、历史和特殊事件对经济结构的形成起着决定性的作用。早期的区位优势一旦形成,就会通过向产业的上下游延伸来实现集聚效应。在规模收益递增的作用下,这种不合理的经济分布具有一定的“锁定”效应。Davis等人(2002)研究了美国轰炸日本城市的后果,发现即使在巨大的冲击(战争)之后,一个城市通常不仅可以恢复其人口和在整个制造业中的份额,还可以恢复其以前的特定产业。因此,在现实世界中,政府很难通过采取“拉平”政策将大城市的高价值经济部门拉到贫困或落后地区。

The successful gathering of high-value economic sectors in big cities is often not driven by the government. Krugman (1991) believes that contingency, path dependence, history, and special events play a decisive role in the formation of the economic structure. Once the early location advantages are formed, the agglomeration effect is achieved through extension to the upstream and downstream of the industry. This irrational economic distribution has a certain "locking in" effect under the effect of increasing returns to scale. Davis et al. (2002) examined the aftermath of the US bombing of Japanese cities and found that even after a huge impact (war), a city can usually not only restore its population and its share in the overall manufacturing industry but can also restore its previous specific industries. Therefore, in the real world, it is difficult for the government to pull the high-value economic sectors of big cities into poor or backward areas by adopting a "leveling up" policy.


企业家是市场的主角。要打破大城市高价值经济部门的平衡,必须依靠企业家精神,而不是政府的“拉平”和其他产业政策。熊彼特(1934)认为,企业家是不平衡的力量,也是经济增长的重要推动力。Kirzner(1973)研究认为,企业家利用固有机会的能力可以使市场恢复平衡。通过企业家的发现过程,市场参与者加深了对彼此的了解,是市场均衡特征的来源(Kirzner,1997)。产业政策是指政府为经济发展或其他目的对私人生产的选择性干预和歧视性对待。然而,有一个不争的事实:政府官员没有企业家的警惕性和判断力;即使他们有,他们也没有企业家的激励。波特等人(2000)用详细的资料证明,产业政策对日本20个最成功的产业没有显示出什么影响。相反,七个最失败的产业都受到产业政策的严重影响。

Entrepreneurs are the protagonists of the market. To break the balance of high-value economic sectors in big cities, it is necessary to rely on entrepreneurship instead of the government’s “leveling up” and other industrial policies. Schumpeter (1934) argued that entrepreneurs are the force of disequilibrium and are also a crucial driving force for economic growth. Kirzner (1973) examined that the ability of entrepreneurs to exploit inherent opportunities can bring markets back to equilibrium. Through the process of entrepreneurial discovery, market participants deepen their understanding of each other and are the source of market equilibrium characteristics (Kirzner, 1997).  Industrial policy refers to the selective intervention and discriminatory treatment of private production by the government for economic development or other purposes. However, there is an indisputable fact: government officials do not have the vigilance and judgment of entrepreneurs; even if they do, they do not have the incentives of entrepreneurs. Porter et al. (2000) used detailed information to prove that industrial policy has shown little effect on the 20 most successful industries in Japan. Instead, seven most failed industries are all seriously affected by industrial policies.


在人类文明发展过程中,区域差异造成的不平衡发展是人类历史上长期存在的问题(Smith,1990)。斯金纳(1986)从宏观角度分析了中国的封建历史,认为中国的每个经济区都有两大部分:核心区和边缘区。核心区主导着外围区的发展。如果说前资本主义时代的不平衡发展是隐性的、区域性的,那么资本主义时代的不平衡发展则是日益突出的、全球性的。“拉平”可能会产生短期效果,但从长远来看,不公平发展是人类社会发展的正常情况。Fujita等人(1999)认为,促进产业地理集中的向心力主要包括市场规模效应、充足的劳动力市场和纯外部经济。政府的作用应限于为社会提供基本服务,包括建立公平的制度环境,提供经济机会信息,加强教育,建立社会保障体系。“拉平”政策证明很难达到政策制定者的预期效果,但会滋生寻租行为。

The landscape of unbalanced development caused by regional differences in the development of human civilization is one of the long-standing aspects of human history (Smith, 1990). Skinner (1986) analyzed China’s feudal history from a macroscopic perspective and argued that every economic zone in China has two major parts: core and peripheral. The core zone dominates the development of the peripheral area. If the unbalanced development in the pre-capitalist era is implicit and regional, then the unbalanced development in the capitalist era is increasingly prominent and global. "Leveling up" might yield short-term results, but in the long run, unfair development is the normal situation of human social development. Fujita et al. (1999) posited that the centripetal forces that promote the geographic concentration of industries primarily include market scale effects, ample labor markets, and pure external economies. The role of the government should be limited to providing essential services to society, including establishing a fair institutional environment, providing information on economic opportunities, strengthening education, and establishing a social security system. "Leveling up" policies prove it difficult to achieve the desired effect of policymakers but will breed rent-seeking behavior.


Nobel Ding is a senior at Stanford Online High School and Abbey College Cambridge.

 

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