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Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities: Comment

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  • Moshe Levy
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    Abstract

    Jan Eeckhout (2004) reports that the empirical city size distribution is lognormal, consistent with Gibrat's Law. We show that for the top 0.6 percent of the largest cities, the empirical distribution is dramatically different from the lognormal, and follows a power law. This top part is extremely important as it accounts for more than 23 percent of the population. The empirical hybrid lognormal-power-law distribution revealed may be characteristic of other key distributions, such as the wealth distribution and the income distribution. This distribution is not consistent with a simple Gibrat proportionate effect process, and its origin presents a puzzle yet to be answered. (JEL R11, R12, R23)

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 4 (September)
    Pages: 1672-75

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:4:p:1672-75

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.4.1672
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    1. Edward L. Glaeser, 1998. "Are Cities Dying?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 139-160, Spring.
    2. Jonathan Eaton & Zvi Eckstein, 1994. "Cities and Growth: Theory and Evidence from france and Japan," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 36, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
    3. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
    4. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
    5. Levy, Moshe, 2003. "Are rich people smarter?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 42-64, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Bee, Marco & Riccaboni, Massimo & Schiavo, Stefano, 2013. "The size distribution of US cities: Not Pareto, even in the tail," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 232-237.
    2. Kristian Giesen & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "The size distribution across all “cities”: a unifying approach," Working Papers 2012/2, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    3. Malevergne, Y. & Saichev, A. & Sornette, D., 2013. "Zipf's law and maximum sustainable growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1195-1212.
    4. Lee, Sanghoon & Li, Qiang, 2013. "Uneven landscapes and city size distributions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 19-29.
    5. Rafael González-Val & Arturo Ramos & Fernando Sanz-Gracia, 2013. "The accuracy of graphs to describe size distributions," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(17), pages 1580-1585, November.
    6. Giesen, Kristian & Zimmermann, Arndt & Suedekum, Jens, 2010. "The size distribution across all cities - Double Pareto lognormal strikes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 129-137, September.
    7. Gaujal, Bruno & Gulyas, Laszlo & Mansury, Yuri & Thierry, Eric, 2014. "Validating an agent-based model of the Zipf׳s Law: A discrete Markov-chain approach," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 38-49.

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