Using nighttime light intensity data of prefecture-level cities and counties as a measure of economic development of China from 2005 to 2013, we make an attempt to explore whether underdeveloped areas can catch up with developed areas by evaluating ranking persistence of regional economy year by year. Our analysis suggests that underdeveloped areas cannot successfully catch up with developed areas during this period of time and the regional economy ranking did not change statistically significantly. Moreover, we should consider the uneven development of regional economies and the real effect of varieties of regional revitalization programs in China.
JEL classification numbers: O11, R11, R58
Keywords: regional economy, satellite light data, China economy