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The relationship between urbanization and economic growth: An empirical study on ASEAN countries

Ha Minh Nguyen (Graduate School, Ho Chi Minh City Open University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
Le Dang Nguyen (Graduate School, Ho Chi Minh City Open University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 12 February 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between urbanization and economic growth in ASEAN countries for the period 1993-2014.

Design/methodology/approach

The Granger causality test and the regression estimation method with static and dynamic panel data (FE, RE, Driscoll and Kraay, D-GMM and PMG) were used. The sample includes seven ASEAN countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Findings

The results show that at least a causal relationship exists between urbanization and economic growth and urbanization positively impacts economic growth. However, the relationship between urbanization and economic growth is non-linear. The urbanization reaches a threshold after which it may impede the economic growth. The estimated threshold is 69.99 percent for the static model and 67.94 percent for the dynamic model.

Research limitations/implications

The evidence from this study suggests that there is a non-linear relationship between urbanization and the economic growth. Urbanization has the potential to accelerate the economic growth, and this potential will depend on the establishment of favorable institutions and investments in appropriate public infrastructure.

Practical implications

The decision on the model of urbanization needs to be based on social and environmental considerations as well as market-based economic efficiency. The quality of urbanization manifests in the way that people and businesses perceive when they come to cities and their position in the labor market, urban housing, niche commodity markets, supply chain, collaborative network and physical space for the operation of the business. Most ASEAN countries have not yet reached a high level of urbanization, despite having a number of policies for promoting urbanization to contribute to the economic growth. However, policymakers should find ways to facilitate the development of urbanization that contributes to economic growth, employment growth, environmental sustainability, rather than the pursuit of speeding up the process of urbanization.

Originality/value

Between urbanization and economic growth at least a causal relationship exists. Urbanization positively impacts economic growth. However, the relationship between urbanization and economic growth is non-linear. The urbanization reaches a threshold after which it may impede the economic growth. The estimated threshold is 69.99 percent for the static model and 67.94 percent for the dynamic model.

Keywords

Citation

Nguyen, H.M. and Nguyen, L.D. (2018), "The relationship between urbanization and economic growth: An empirical study on ASEAN countries", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 45 No. 2, pp. 316-339. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSE-12-2016-0358

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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