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The French Overall City Size Distribution

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Author Info

  • Kristian GIESEN

    ()
    (Mercator School of Management, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)

  • Jens SÜDEKUM

    ()
    (Mercator School of Management, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)

Abstract

We analyze the overall size distribution across all French settlements in the year 2008. The sizes of the largest French cities follow the famous Zipf's law fairly closely, with Paris being a notable outlier. However, for the overall city size distribution (CSD), Zipf's law is not a useful approximation. We show that the lognormal (LN) distribution does a reasonable job in fitting the overall French CSD. Yet, it is clearly outperformed by a different parameterization, the double Pareto lognormal (DPLN) distribution. This is consistent with our previous findings for city sizes in the US and other countries. We discuss the implications of these results for urban growth theory.

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File URL: http://region-developpement.univ-tln.fr/fr/pdf/R36/6_GiesenSudekum.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var in its journal Région et Développement.

Volume (Year): 36 (2012)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 107-126

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Handle: RePEc:tou:journl:v:36:y:2012:p:107-126

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Related research

Keywords: ZIPF'S LAW; GIBRAT'S LAW; CITY SIZE DISTRIBUTIONS; DOUBLE PARETO LOGNORMAL;

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References

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  1. Kristian Giesen & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "The size distribution across all 'cities': A unifying approach," ERSA conference papers ersa12p106, European Regional Science Association.
  2. Hern�n D. Rozenfeld & Diego Rybski & Xavier Gabaix & Hern�n A. Makse, 2011. "The Area and Population of Cities: New Insights from a Different Perspective on Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2205-25, August.
  3. Xavier Gabaix & Rustam Ibragimov, 2007. "Rank-1/2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Alberto F. Ades & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Trade and Circuses: Explaining Urban Giants," NBER Working Papers 4715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Soo, Kwok Tong, 2005. "Zipf's Law for cities: a cross-country investigation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 239-263, May.
  6. Rosen, Kenneth T. & Resnick, Mitchel, 1980. "The size distribution of cities: An examination of the Pareto law and primacy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 165-186, September.
  7. Nitsch, Volker, 2005. "Zipf zipped," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 86-100, January.
  8. Gan, Li & Li, Dong & Song, Shunfeng, 2006. "Is the Zipf law spurious in explaining city-size distributions?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 256-262, August.
  9. Gabaix, Xavier & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "The evolution of city size distributions," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 53, pages 2341-2378 Elsevier.
  10. William J. Reed, 2002. "On the Rank-Size Distribution for Human Settlements," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(1), pages 1-17.
  11. Cheshire, Paul, 1999. "Trends in sizes and structures of urban areas," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 35, pages 1339-1373 Elsevier.
  12. Reed, William J., 2001. "The Pareto, Zipf and other power laws," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 15-19, December.
  13. Rafael González‐Val, 2010. "The Evolution Of U.S. City Size Distribution From A Long‐Term Perspective (1900–2000)," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(5), pages 952-972, December.
  14. Bosker, Maarten & Buringh, Eltjo & van Zanden, Jan Luiten, 2008. "From Baghdad to London: The Dynamics of Urban Growth in Europe and the Arab World, 800-1800," CEPR Discussion Papers 6833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  16. 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.
  17. Henderson, J. Vernon & Wang, Hyoung Gun, 2007. "Urbanization and city growth: The role of institutions," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 283-313, May.
  18. 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, vol. 29(1), pages 24-39.
  19. Yannis M. Ioannides & Spyros Skouras, 2009. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities: A Rejoinder," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0740, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  20. Bosker, Maarten & Buringh, Eltjo, 2010. "City seeds. Geography and the origins of the European city system," CEPR Discussion Papers 8066, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. González-Val, Rafael & Ramos, Arturo & Sanz, Fernando & Vera-Cabello, María, 2013. "Size Distributions for All Cities: Which One is Best?," MPRA Paper 44314, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Puente-Ajovin, Miguel & Ramos, Arturo, 2014. "On the parametric description of the French, German, Italian and Spanish city size distributions," MPRA Paper 55285, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Ramos, Arturo & Sanz-Gracia, Fernando & González-Val, Rafael, 2013. "A new framework for the US city size distribution: Empirical evidence and theory," MPRA Paper 52190, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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