Both academia and government have shown an increasingly common interest in the relationship between the high-speed railway and socioeconomic development. This paper provides a systematic review of the recent theoretical and empirical literature on the impact of the high-speed railway on economic development. On the one hand, we summarize theoretical mechanisms that underline how high-speed rail affects economic development and review studies that explored the influence of high-speed rail on accessibility, population mobility and agglomeration, labor employment, and productivity. In particular, we focus on how high-speed rail affects the structure of the spatial economy. On the other hand, we summarize the effect of high-speed rail on industry and regional economic growth, based on which we further discuss the possible negative effects of introducing high-speed rail and provide some potential policy recommendations. At last, we suggest some promising research questions for future studies.