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Experts discuss theoretical innovation in regional economics

Author  :  ZHANG JIE     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-07-03

As successful regional strategies have been stably promoted, a new structure of regional coordinated development has taken form. Chen Yao, a research fellow with the Institute of Industrial Economics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that China in recent years has formed a “three clusters, two belts” strategic structure, that is, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei coordinated development, the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta, and the construction of the Greater Bay Area, Yangtze River Economic Belt and the Yellow River ecological belt, which is an important engine to support high-quality economic growth in China. This strategy emphasizes the regional competitiveness and the balanced coordinated development among regions. Zhou Mi, associate director of the China Urban and Regional Economic Research Center at Nankai University, said that under the new situation, regional economics faces dual opportunities given by the era and the deployment of the central government.

The achievements and experiences of our country’s reform and opening up have brought a great opportunity for innovation in regional economics, said Zhang Helin, chief expert of the UrbanRural Integration Institute at Zhengzhou University. The practice of regional economics has also provided ample soil for theoretical innovation. Liu Qingchun, a professor from the Research Institute of Regional Economy at Shandong University of Finance Economics, put forward that the practice has established many requirements and reliable examples to guide the optimization of regional economics.

Zhou summarized the development and improvement that the disciplinary construction and theoretical innovation of regional economics have obtained as new research aspects have been continuously explored. Its disciplinary status has been growing as it has played a vital role in dealing with urgent theoretical and practical problems. The annual conference on the disciplinary construction of regional economics is an important channel for exchanging opinions. In addition, scholars have made a series of great theoretical achievements in regional industrial analysis, regional poverty alleviation and coordinated development, empirical economic geography, spatial economics, and city clusters.

Liu explained in more detail from the perspective of different parts of this discipline. In terms of the regional development theory, it includes location theory, the theory of regional economic growth, the theory of regional industrial construction, the theory of regional industrial structure and regional innovation theory. The regional relation theory contains regional cooperation theory, regional trade theory, the theory of regional competitiveness and the theory of regional economic integration. As for the regional economic research method, it refers to regional economic development strategy, regional planning and regional economic policies. For instance, the overall strategy of regional development, including the development of Western China, the revitalization of Northeast China, the rise of Central China and the advancing development of Eastern China, is a major innovative achievement of regional economics.

The theoretical innovation will be changed in two ways, Zhou said. First, it will change from focusing on the theory of technology to integrating thoughts and technology efficiently. Second, it will shift from learning from foreign experiences to independent innovation.

Zhang pointed out several significant aspects when promoting theoretical innovation in regional economics and the construction of its discourse system. That is, One Belt, One Road construction, highquality regional coordinative development, and the integration of urban and rural areas.

Regional economics is comprehensive and open, involving economics, geography and many other disciplines, Liu said. The development of regional economics emphasizes the acceleration of the formation of a scientific thinking system and the promotion of interdisciplinary research methods. At the same time, as a branch of applied economics, regional economics could be more vigorous if it could efficiently resolve practical problems in the process of developing China’s regional economies.

Editor: Yu Hui

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