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Sequential city growth: Empirical evidence

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  • Cuberes, David

Abstract

Using two comprehensive datasets on populations of cities and metropolitan areas for a large set of countries, I present three new empirical facts about the evolution of city growth. First, the distribution of cities' growth rates is skewed to the right in most countries and decades. Second, within a country, the average rank of each decade's fastest-growing cities tends to rise over time. Finally, this rank increases faster in periods of rapid growth in urban population. These facts can be interpreted as evidence in favor of the hypothesis that historically, urban agglomerations have followed a sequential growth pattern: Within a country, the initially largest city is the first to grow rapidly for some years. At some point, the growth rate of this city slows down and the second-largest city then becomes the fastest-growing one. Eventually, the third-largest city starts growing fast as the two largest cities slow down, and so on.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 69 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 229-239

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:69:y:2011:i:2:p:229-239

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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Keywords: Sequential city growth Urbanization City size distribution Urban primacy Gibrat's law;

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References

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  1. Gabaix, Xavier & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "The evolution of city size distributions," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 53, pages 2341-2378 Elsevier.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Jose A. Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 1995. "Economic Growth in a Cross-Section of Cities," NBER Working Papers 5013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2002. "Bones, Bombs, and Break Points: The Geography of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1269-1289, December.
  4. Cuberes, David & Dougan, William, 2009. "How Endogenous Is Money? Evidence from a New Microeconomic Estimate," MPRA Paper 17744, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. 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.
  6. Canning, David & Bennathan, Esra, 2000. "The social rate of return on infrastructure investments," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 2390, The World Bank.
  7. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2001. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research 1931, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Vernon Henderson & Anthony Venables, 2009. "Dynamics of city formation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(2), pages 233-254, April.
  9. José J. Sempere Monerris & Rafael Moner Colonques & Amparo Urbano Salvador, 2010. "Trade liberalization in vertically related markets," Working Papers. Serie AD, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) 2010-09, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  10. Findeisen, Sebastian & Suedekum, Jens, 2007. "Industry Churning and the Evolution of Cities: Evidence for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3180, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. repec:fth:stanho:e-95-4 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Henderson, J. Vernon & Wang, Hyoung Gun, 2007. "Urbanization and city growth: The role of institutions," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 283-313, May.
  13. Cuberes, David, 2008. "A Model of Sequential City Growth," MPRA Paper 8431, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Wheaton, William C & Shishido, Hisanobu, 1981. "Urban Concentration, Agglomeration Economies, and the Level of Economic Development," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 17-30, October.
  15. Jonathan Eaton & Zvi Eckstein, 1994. "Cities and Growth: Theory and Evidence from france and Japan," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development 36, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  16. Alberto Chong & Mark Gradstein & Cecilia Calderon, 2009. "Can foreign aid reduce income inequality and poverty?," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 59-84, July.
  17. Gilles Duranton, 2007. "Urban Evolutions: The Fast, the Slow, and the Still," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 197-221, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kristian Giesen & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "The size distribution across all “cities”: a unifying approach," Working Papers, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) 2012/2, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  2. Cuberes David, 2009. "A Model of Sequential City Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-41, May.
  3. Giesen, Kristian & Suedekum, Jens, 2013. "City age and city size," DICE Discussion Papers, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) 120, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  4. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2014. "The Growth of Cities," Handbook of Economic Growth, Elsevier, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 5, pages 781-853 Elsevier.
  5. María Sánchez-Vidal & Rafael González-Val & Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, 2013. "Sequential city growth in the US: Does age matter?," ERSA conference papers, European Regional Science Association ersa13p35, European Regional Science Association.
  6. Rafael Gonzalez-Val & Luis Lanaspa, 2013. "Patterns in US Urban Growth (1790?2000)," ERSA conference papers, European Regional Science Association ersa13p254, European Regional Science Association.
  7. repec:wyi:journl:002175 is not listed on IDEAS

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