Expanding Footprints: The Impact of Passenger Transportation on Corporate Locations
This article investigates how transportation networks shape firms' geographic footprint by reducing monitoring costs of distant investments. Exploiting the staggered expansions of China's passenger high-speed rail (HSR) network, the authors document that the amount of intercity investment between a pair of cities increases by 45% with the introduction of an HSR line connecting the cities. They enhance the causal inference by applying high-dimensional fixed effects, and focusing on city pairs that are "accidentally" connected in the network. The HSR effect is the strongest in industries that require on-site monitoring, as well as for controlling stakes in large distant investments.