How to promote the development of a green economy: Talent or technology?—Evidence from China’s high-speed rail

Frontiers in Psychology 13 (2022)
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Abstract

The green economy is essential in supporting sustainable economic development and relies on talents and technologies. From the perspective of traditional economic theory, this study explores the impact of high-speed rail and innovation on the green economy from the perspectives of talent and technology. Using the data of 281 prefecture-level cities in China from 2008 to 2018, this study constructs empirical models to discuss the driving factors of the green economy. Empirical results show that high-speed rail and innovation can promote the development of a green economy, and the opening of high-speed rail can strengthen the positive association between innovation and a green economy. The accessibility of high-speed rail improves the flow of talent between different cities and greatly stimulates the positive impact of innovation on green economic activities. In the further test, this study explores the impact of high-speed rail and innovation on the green economy from different dimensions, including government policy, economic strength, and administrative level. During China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, high-speed rail and innovation had a positive impact on the green economy, but the impact of innovation can still be significant after this period. Moreover, the opening of high-speed rail may motivate the migration of talents from developed cities to developing ones, while developed cities can rely on technological advantages to support green economic activities. Furthermore, low-administrative level cities will rely on attracting more talents to promote a green economy due to technological disadvantages. Innovation can play a critical role in enhancing the green economy of cities with high administrative levels. Talents and technology are both important to green economic activities, and the construction of high-speed rail changes the impact of technology on the green economy through the flow of talent. Our findings can explain why the opening of high-speed rail can promote the development of a green economy and effectively help governments achieve the goal of sustainable development.

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