Regional economic resilience of resource-based cities and influential factors during economic crises in China

Juntao Tan, Tek Sheng Kevin Lo, Fangdao Qiu, Xinlin Zhang*, Hongbo Zhao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Resource-based cities (RBCs) whose economies depend primarily on exploiting and processing natural resources usually have rigid, singular, and low-end industrial structures, which often cripples their ability to cope with external disturbances such as international resource price fluctuations and economic downturns. This paper quantitatively analyzes the economic resilience of RBCs in China in terms of resistance and recoverability during the Asian financial crisis and the global financial crisis. Furthermore, it identifies the main factors affecting resilience. There are four main findings: First, RBCs were quickly and negatively impacted by the Asian financial crisis, which suggests that economic resistance was generally low during this period. In the recovery period, while the rate of recovery was slow at the beginning, economic recoverability improved after 2002. Economic resistance and recoverability were found to have a strong negative correlation. Second, at the beginning of the global financial crisis, the economic resistance of RBCs was generally high. However, after 2012, the number of cities that were severely affected by the economic crisis increased rapidly. Third, economic resistance varied across different types of RBCs. Coal-based and forestry-based cities had lower economic resistance, while oil & gas-based cities were more resistant. RBCs in the Eastern region generally had low economic resistance, while the economic resilience of recessionary cities was also low. Finally, while factors affecting the economic resilience varied across the two economic cycles, we found that economic development, labor conditions and, most of all, the industrial structure had a statistically significant negative effect on economic resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-381
Number of pages20
JournalGrowth and Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Global and Planetary Change


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