Industrial clusters in the long run: evidence from Million-Rouble plants in China

Stephan Heblich, Marlon Seror, Hao Xu, Yanos Zylberberg

Research output: Working paperWorking paper and Preprints


This paper exploits a short-lived cooperation program between the U.S.S.R. and China, which led to the construction of 156 "Million-Rouble plants" in the 1950s. We isolate exogenous variation in location decisions due to the relative position of allied and enemy airbases and study the long-run impact of these factories on local economic activity. While the "156" program accelerated industrialization in treated counties until the end of the command-economy era, this significant productivity advantage fully eroded in the subsequent period. We explore the nature of local spillovers responsible for this pattern, and provide evidence that treated counties are overspecialized and far less innovative. There is a large concentration of establishments along the production chain of the Million-Rouble plants, which limits technological spillovers across industries.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameCESifo Working Papers


  • industrial clusters
  • Agglomeration economies
  • specialization

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