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The size distribution of US cities: Not Pareto, even in the tail

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  • Bee, Marco
  • Riccaboni, Massimo
  • Schiavo, Stefano

Abstract

We question the claim that the largest US cities are Pareto distributed. We show that results of multiple tests on real data are similar to those obtained when the true distribution is lognormal, and largely depend on sample sizes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics Letters.

Volume (Year): 120 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 232-237

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:120:y:2013:i:2:p:232-237

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolet

Related research

Keywords: City size distribution; Zipf distribution; Power-law; Lognormal distribution; Maximum entropy;

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References

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  1. Wu, Ximing, 2003. "Calculation of maximum entropy densities with application to income distribution," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 347-354, August.
  2. Hernán D. Rozenfeld & Diego Rybski & Xavier Gabaix & Hernán A. Makse, 2009. "The Area and Population of Cities: New Insights from a Different Perspective on Cities," NBER Working Papers 15409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Moshe Levy, 2009. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1672-75, September.
  4. Jan Eeckhout, 2009. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1676-83, September.
  5. Gabaix, Xavier & Ibragimov, Rustam, 2011. "Rank − 1 / 2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(1), pages 24-39.
  6. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
  7. Xavier Gabaix, 2009. "Power Laws in Economics and Finance," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 255-294, 05.
  8. Marco Bee & Massimo Riccaboni & Stefano Schiavo, 2011. "Pareto versus lognormal: a maximum entropy test," Department of Economics Working Papers 1102, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  9. Ioannides, Yannis & Skouras, Spyros, 2013. "US city size distribution: Robustly Pareto, but only in the tail," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 18-29.
  10. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
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