Multi-Scale Analysis of Regional Inequality Based on Spatial Field Model: a Case Study of China from 2000 to 2012

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A large body of recent studies-from both inside and outside of China-are devoted to the understanding of China's regional inequality. The current study introduces "the spatial field model" to achieve comprehensive evaluation and multi-scale analysis of regional inequality. The model is based on the growth pole theory, regional interaction theory, and energy space theory. The spatial field is an abstract concept that defines the potential energy difference that is formed in the process of a regional growth pole driving the economic development of peripheral areas through transportation and communication corridors. The model is able to provide potentially more precise regional inequality estimates and generates isarithmic maps that will provide highly intuitive and visualized presentations. The model is applied to evaluate the spatiotemporal pattern of economic inequality in China from 2000 to 2012 amongst internal eastern-central-western regions as well as north-south regions at three geographical scales-i.e., inter-province, inter-city, and inter-county. The results indicate that the spatial field model could comprehensively evaluate regional inequality, provide aesthetically pleasing and highly adaptable presentations based on a pixel-based raster, and realise the multi-scale analyses of the regional inequality. The paper also investigates the limitations and extensions of the spatial field model in future application.



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