How Do Institutional Arrangements Affect Corporate Social Mobility? Evidence from Construction Land Reduction

4.1. Baseline Regression Results and Analysis

Figure 5 shows the empirical flowchart. Before regression analysis, the variables are first tested for multicollinearity using the variance inflation factor (VIF). Generally, when the value of VIF exceeds 10, it indicates the presence of severe multicollinearity [34]. Table 4 demonstrates the results of multicollinearity test. It can be found that the VIF values of all variables are well below 10; thus, there is no serious multicollinearity.
Table 5 shows the benchmark regression results. Column (1) is the benchmark regression result. It controls for the control variables of reduction pressure of districts, location of townships, level of economic development of townships, intensity of fixed asset investment of townships, energy-use efficiency of townships, development pressure of townships, urbanization rate of townships, and the individual and household characteristics of residents.
Column (1) reveals that construction land reduction significantly promotes corporate social mobility. The research hypothesis H1 is tested. Through construction land reduction, inefficient corporates have been reduced, the standard of newly introduced corporates has increased, and high-quality corporates have increased. From 2014 to 2020, the eight suburban districts all achieved positive growth in gross industrial output value, with the real gross industrial output value increasing by 25.75% on average (calculated based on the Shanghai Statistical Yearbook). Through construction land reduction, construction land space is provided for the planning implementation. Through the upgrading of land access standards, including the average tax per mu, average output per mu, and pollution intensity, all of which are managed at a high standard, only competitive corporates can enter. The entry of new corporates strengthens competition and also makes the original scattered construction land into industrial zones and causes the centralized construction area to concentrate, forming a scale effect [3]. As a result of the concentration of corporates, spillover benefits among infrastructure, including sewage systems and roads, are accentuated, bringing about agglomeration benefits. In addition, the mutual use of products as inputs and outputs among corporates helps to reduce transportation costs and strengthens collaboration and division of labor among corporates, thus driving the development of industrial clusters.

For the control variables, the effect of the reduction pressure of districts on corporate social mobility is not significant.

Location can affect construction land reduction [3]. Construction land reduction is targeted at inefficient and poorly located construction land. The worse the location of the township, the more the district positions the township as a priority township for reduction, the more space can be freed up for construction land, and therefore the more it contributes to the enhancement of corporate social mobility.

Corporate social mobility is influenced by economic development. The more the economy develops, the greater the demand for construction land quotas, and the greater the need to provide space for the landing of new industries and projects. It is relatively difficult to carry out construction land reduction in regions with a better economic base, which makes it difficult to free up space for construction land, and therefore corporate social mobility is relatively poor.

The intensity of fixed asset investment of townships has a catalytic effect on corporate social mobility. Investment is necessary for the introduction of corporates and the expansion of reproduction, and an increase in the intensity of investment contributes to corporate social mobility.

The lower the energy-use efficiency of a region, the stronger the incentive to reduce construction land, and the greater the need to eliminate outdated capacity, leading to increased corporate social mobility. The lower the energy-use efficiency of a region, the more backward its industries are. Excessive growth in energy consumption will force corporates to transform, promote regional industrial upgrading, and eliminate backward capacity. Thus, industrial backwardness can accelerate corporate social mobility.

Development pressure significantly contributes to corporate social mobility. Government departments set targets for GDP in short-, medium-, and long-term planning. GDP is the focus of performance appraisal in government departments, and the greater the pressure for economic development, the greater the incentive for local officials to make local GDP performance greater for promotion. The greater the pressure on economic development, the more urgent the optimization of industrial structure. The greater the pressure of performance appraisal and economic development, the greater the need to free up space for construction through the flow of land factors. As a result, the stronger the corporate social mobility.

Urbanization can increase the carrying capacity of land and also lead to the expansion of construction land [35]. In order to control urban sprawl, China exercises strict control over construction land. The higher the urbanization rate, the higher the demand for the efficient use of land resources. There is an urgent need to promote the transfer of land factors, revitalize inefficient and idle land resources, and improve the efficiency of land use. As construction land reduction enters the third phase, the pressure for reduction is increasing. On the one hand, because inefficient construction land has been reduced in the earlier stages, the construction land efficiency is higher than before; on the other hand, the reduction in state-owned corporates is beginning to be explored, and there is great resistance to this reduction in order to avoid the loss of state-owned assets. As construction land carries more employment at this stage, the continued implementation of construction land reduction will have a certain negative impact on employment in the reduction areas. The higher the urbanization rate, the wider the scope of the population and interest compensation involved, and the higher the reduction cost, which to some extent hinders corporate social mobility.

At the micro level, increases in residents’ age, education, and household income all contribute to enhancing residents’ perceptions of corporate social mobility. According to human capital theory, education is an important investment in human capital and is an important cause of population mobility. An increase in the level of education of the population contributes to its competitiveness on the job market. The better the talent base needed for business renewal and industrial upgrading, the more likely it is to accelerate corporate social mobility. The higher level of education of residents and better knowledge of construction land reduction contribute to strengthening their perception of corporate social mobility. The higher the level of household income of residents, a group with a comparative advantage, the better their policy perception and support for construction land reduction, and the stronger their perceived corporate social mobility.

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