Prof. Zhang Dapeng of School of Public Administration and Policy published on Cities
(2022-11-28 16:11:10)

Recently, Associate Professor Zhang Dapeng of the School of Public Administration and Policy of Renmin University of China (RUC) published an article titled “Understanding Mobility Inequality Through the Lens of Economic Welfare: The Difference in Willingness-to-pay And Actual Fare Matters” on Cities, supported by the Humanities and Social Sciences Foundation of the Ministry of Education and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.


Existing studies investigate mobility inequality from the perspectives of accessibility and non-economic welfare. This paper proposes to analyze mobility inequality through the lens of economic welfare, which reflects the difference of passengers’ willingness-to-pay and the actual fare. Based on the theory of welfare economics, this paper first defines the concept and specifies the formula of economic welfare with regards to mobility inequality. Then, economic welfare is calculated regarding the elderly’s bus fare in Beijing and econometric models are estimated to examine how mobility inequality is socially and spatially distributed. Results show that those with low income and living in the low-unit-house-price communities in the city center are the marginalized group. The benefits of introducing economic welfare to mobility inequality studies include (1) it can improve the objectivity in assessing travelers’ feelings and identifying marginalized groups; (2) the concept of economic welfare can directly correspond to the “sense of gain” policy initiative in China; (3) the perspective of economic welfare can inform transportation pricing policies to mitigate inequality issues. To conclude, this paper contributes to the existing literature by a new perspective of economic welfare that enriches the current dialogue of mobility inequality among the geographical, transportation, sociological and psychological researchers.

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