Double-edged trains:: Economic outcomes and regional disparity of high-speed railways

Sunbin Yoo, Junya Kumagai, Kohei Kawasaki, Sungwan Hong, Bingqi Zhang, Takuya Shimamura, Shunsuke Managi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We illuminate the causal relationship between high-speed railway (HSR) expansions and economic development, focusing on HSR in Japan–the Shinkansen–from 1983 to 2020. To address endogeneity concerns about HSR station construction, we employ a market access approach that captures both the direct and indirect impacts of HSR expansion. The results show that a 1% increase in HSR market access increases the land price by 0.176%, total income (hereafter, income) by 0.425%, and income per capita by 0.023% of Japan. However, most of the benefits are focused in Tokyo and other developed areas, while the economic growth due to HSR expansion of cities outside these areas is negative or statistically insignificant. We confirm the robustness of the results through the instrumental variable (IV) approach and a series of robustness checks. Next, we conduct counterfactual analyses using regression results to evaluate future Japanese HSR plans: the Linear Shinkansen, regional expansion, and a policy that would implement both. Simulation results reconfirm that future HSR plans will induce economic growth but, at the same time, aggravate regional disparity; thus, the expected economic outcomes may be double-edged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-133
Number of pages14
JournalTransport Policy
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Law
  • Transportation


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