In the modern economic society, a brand contains great value. However, there is little research on the value of city brand. On the one hand, research on brand value mainly focuses on the enterprise level. On the other hand, research on urban soft environment rarely analyzes the impact of brand value on cities. The reasons may be as follows: First, the research is mainly concerned with the production function of the city, there is little research on the living function, and few economic studies pay attention to the cultural function of the city. Second, the value of city brand is not easy to be measured properly.
“National Civilized City” provides an opportunity to solve the above problems. On the one hand, “National Civilized City” is a comprehensive honorary title reflecting the overall civilization level of the city, and it is the highest honor in the national evaluation of cities. So, it has received positive response from local governments. On the other hand, except for winning the honorary title, cities have not been given preferential resources and preferential policies by the central government. Therefore, the impact of brand value on the city can be cleanly identified.
This paper constructs a simple theoretical model and finds that the value of city brand affects the total output of the city and also acts on the total population and the land price, and the degree of control of land supply is an important influencing factor. This paper also regards “National Civilized City” as a quasi-experiment to test the findings of the theoretical model, using panel data of prefecture-level cities in China from 2003—2015. It is found that the promotion of city brand value can increase the total output of the city and promote the development of the city. This promotion effect is reflected in the rising of the total population and the land price, but mainly reflected in the land price. This paper also finds that land supply regulation will reduce the contribution of brand value to the city’s gross production and increase the impact on the land price. It further examines the heterogeneity of the impact of brand value across different types of cities.
The anticipated contribution of this paper is as follows: On the one hand, it identifies the net impact of city brand value on city development properly, fills the gap in the research on city brand value, and provides an academic basis for local governments’ brand value construction. On the other hand, it also finds that land supply regulation plays a key role, which broadens the research on the impact of land supply on cities, and provides new empirical evidence for the future optimization of land policy in China.