Since the reform and opening up, China’s economy has maintained rapid growth. At the same time, the process of urbanization in China has been accelerating and the scale of urban construction land has expanded accordingly. The purpose of the research is to explore whether there is an inevitable connection between the expansion of urban construction land and economic growth. This study uses 108 prefecture-level cities in the Yangtze River Economic Belt as an example. Considering panel data from 2005 to 2015, the spatial econometric model was used to explore the impact of urban construction land expansion on regional economic growth. The results are as follows: (1) The expansion of construction land in cities in the Yangtze River Economic Belt has a significant impact on economic growth but the extent of the impact is not as great as that of capital stock. (2) In the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the expansion of urban construction land in a certain area has not only a positive effect on the local economic growth but also a certain spillover effect and it can promote the economic development level of the adjacent areas in the economic belt. (3) Although the expansion of urban construction land along the Yangtze River Economic Belt promotes economic growth, there are obvious differences between regions. The expansion of urban construction land in the central region of the Yangtze River Economic Belt has a significant driving effect on economic growth. However, the expansion of urban construction land in the eastern and western regions has no significant effect on the economic growth of the respective regions. Finally, based on the above conclusions, this paper proposes corresponding policy recommendations for economic development in different regions. These research conclusions will also facilitate the follow-up of other researchers to further explore the driving factors of the economic development of many prefecture-level cities in the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the related mechanisms for the expansion of construction land to promote economic growth.
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