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The Fifth Symposium (Winter Camp) on New Structural Economics Successfully Concluded

The Institute of New Structural Economics at Peking University (INSE) hosted the Fifth Symposium (Winter Camp) on New Structural Economics (NSE) from December 15 to 18, 2019 in Beijing. Inaugurated in 2015, the annual symposium demonstrates the theoretical framework, latest research and database construction outcome, and future research prospects of NSE. This 5th edition of the symposium brings together well-known economists and young researchers at home and abroad to discuss issues related to NSE to deepen NSE research.

The 7th International Conference on NSE Concluded with Success

The 7th International Workshop on NSE held during December 12-15 has successfully concluded. This Workshop, hosted by the Institute of New Structural Economics (INSE) at Peking University, was on the theme of Experiences of Economic Transition in the Past 40 Years in the World.

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The Launch of the First Global PDBs and DFIs Database and Visualization Website

At the Finance in Common Summit (FiCS) held by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) on October 19-20, the first global database on public development banks (PDBs) and development financing institutions (DFIs) was successfully launched by the Institute of New Structural Economics (INSE) at Peking University and French Development Agency (AFD).

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Speaker:Zheng (Michael) Song

We estimate the returns to infrastructure investments for each city-to-city link in China’s road network. Using real-time GPS data from over half a million trucks, we first identify congested and uncongested links based on whether speed decreases with traffic density. We then estimate the elasticity of traffic flows to the capacity of a link conditional on its congestion status. We incorporate congestion heterogeneity into a trade model with optimal route choices developed by Allen and Arkolakis (2019). Our structural estimation shows that the model can replicate the main features of traffic flow, speed and congestion in the data. The benefit of expanding the capacity of a link is inferred from the estimated model. The cost of the expansion is estimated from construction costs based on physical topography and market value of acquired land. We find that about 64% of China’s intercity links are uncongested and associated with negative returns. The returns are much higher for congested links and the dispersion is generally large. While we focus on marginal local improvements in individual link capacity and do not quantify aggregate misallocation of the entire network, the large dispersion in returns across links suggests there could be misallocation of road infrastructure investment in China. To facilitate comparison, we also analyze real-time traffic flow data for highways in England. In sharp contrast to China, almost all intercity links in England are found to be congested.

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