Railway opening and carbon emissions in distressed areas: Evidence from China's state-level poverty-stricken counties

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, place - asia, technology - emissions, planning - environmental impact


Railway opening, High-speed railway, Carbon emissions, Poverty-stricken counties, Difference-in-difference


Although the economic and environmental effects of railways have been well documented, most of these involve economically developed cities and rarely focus on poor and remote counties. Thus, the goal of this paper is to take county-level panel data covering the period 1997–2017 to explore the role of railway opening on carbon emissions in those state-level poverty-stricken (SPS) counties. Compared with SPS counties without opening of railway, those SPS counties with railway opening, especially high-speed railway opening, have achieved significant carbon reduction benefits. The intermediary mechanism reveals that railway opening brings a lot of carbon emissions by promoting economic growth, although they are offset by the low-carbon and environmental protection characteristics of the railway itself. Measures should be taken to avoid environmental damage associated with economic growth brought by railway opening while building and upgrading railway system in SPS counties.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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