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Cities and Countries

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  • Rose, Andrew K

Abstract

If one ranks cities by population, the rank of a city is inversely related to its size, a well-documented phenomenon known as Zipf's Law. Further, the growth rate of a city's population is uncorrelated with its size, another well-known characteristic known as Gibrat's Law. In this paper, I show that both characteristics are true of countries as well as cities; the size distributions of cities and countries are similar. But theories that explain the size-distribution of cities do not obviously apply in explaining the size-distribution of countries. The similarity of city- and country-size distributions is an interesting riddle.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5235.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5235

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Keywords: distribution; empirical; Gibrat; growth; logarithm; mean; rank; size; Zipf;

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References

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  1. Mark Wright & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2004. "Urban Structure and Growth," 2004 Meeting Papers 33, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Xavier Gabaix & Yannis M. Ioannides, 2003. "The Evolution of City Size Distributions," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0310, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  3. Nitsch, Volker, 2004. "Zipf zipped," Discussion Papers 2004/16, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  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. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Mariusz A. Sumlinski, 2008. "International Reserves-Too Much of a Zipf's Thing," IMF Working Papers 08/11, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Harry P. Bowen & Haris Munandar & Jean-Marie Viaene, 2006. "Evidence and Implications of Zipf’s Law for Integrated Economies," CESifo Working Paper Series 1743, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Anna Bogomolnaia & Michel Le Breton & Alexei Savvateev & Shlomo Weber, 2008. "Heterogeneity Gap in Stable Jurisdiction Structures," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(3), pages 455-473, 06.
  4. González-Val, Rafael & Sanso-Navarro, Marcos, 2008. "Gibrat’s law for countries," MPRA Paper 9733, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Clemente, Jesús & González-Val, Rafael & Olloqui, Irene, 2008. "Zipf’s and Gibrat’s laws for migrations," MPRA Paper 9731, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. repec:dgr:uvatin:2005048 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. González-Val, Rafael, 2007. "The evolution of the US urban structure from a long-run perspective (1900-2000)," MPRA Paper 9732, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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