Do housing prices promote total factor productivity? Evidence from spatial panel data models in explaining the mediating role of population density

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number104410
Journal / PublicationLand Use Policy
Online published17 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


The issue of what to promote in total factor productivity (TFP) in urban areas has been widely discussed in academia and housing prices and population density are confirmed to be two of the most essential driving factors. However, research into the interaction of housing prices and population density with TFP has been neglected, with no previous studies taking spatial factors into consideration, which may bias the results. From this perspective, using spatial panel data models and employing instrumental variables to solve the endogenous problem, this study examines the impact of housing prices on TFP through the mediating effect of population density for 283 Chinese cities during the period 2000–2013, and confirms that the mediating effect accounts for 18.70 % of the total effect. The results show the positive and significant association of housing prices with TFP and the inverted U-shape of population density. The underlying logic is that housing prices change population density by attracting people with high purchasing power and discouraging those unable to afford housing, whereas increased density helps to promote productivity since the settled inhabitants always have highly developed work skills and are well educated. The influencing mechanism of housing prices on TFP through population density is analyzed, namely the spillover effect. We find that the spillover effect exists in the eastern and central regions, as well as first, second, and third tier cities, while for western regions and fifth tier cities, population mobility and increased in housing prices slows their economic development. There is no evidence of any spillover effect in fourth tier cities. A discussion and suggested policy implications are also provided.

Research Area(s)

  • Housing prices, Population density, Spatial panel data model, Total factor productivity

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