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The city as a giant component: a random graph approach to Zipf's law

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  • Raja Kali
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    Abstract

    The emergence of a 'city' out of a set of locations in space can be considered akin to the evolution of a random graph. Interaction between individuals who are connected to each other is at the source of the benefits associated with a city. If the interaction probability rises, a threshold is eventually crossed at which point most of the graph becomes connected, giving rise to a grand component. It is at this point that a viable 'city' emerges. This view suggests an interpretation of Zipf's law, which we test using US Census data.

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    File URL: http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&doi=10.1080/1350485032000139006&magic=repec&7C&7C8674ECAB8BB840C6AD35DC6213A474B5
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics Letters.

    Volume (Year): 10 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 11 ()
    Pages: 717-720

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:10:y:2003:i:11:p:717-720

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    1. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser, 1998. "Are Cities Dying?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 139-160, Spring.
    3. E. Roy Weintraub, 1992. "Introduction," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 24(5), pages 3-12, Supplemen.
    4. Krugman, Paul, 1996. "Confronting the Mystery of Urban Hierarchy," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 399-418, December.
    5. Masahisa Fujita & Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, and International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262561476, December.
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