Zipf’s law for cities : an empirical examination
AbstractWe use data for metro areas in the United States, from the US Census for 1900 - 1990, to test the validity of Zipf's Law for cities. Previous investigations are restricted to regressions of log size against log rank. In contrast, we use a nonparametric procedure to calculate local Zipf exponents from the mean and variance of city growth rates. This also allows us to test for the validity of Gibrat's Law for city growth processes. Despite variation in growth rates as a function of city size, Gibrat's Law does hold. In addition the local Zipf exponents are broadly consistent with Zipf's Law. Deviations from Zipf's Law are easily explained by deviations from Gibrat's Law.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 583.
Date of creation: Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Regional Science and Urban Economics, March, 2003, 33(2), pp. 127-137. ISSN: 0166-0462
Zipf's Law; Gibrat's Law; urban growth; estimation of Brownian motion. JEL classification codes: R00; C14;
Other versions of this item:
- Y Ioannides & Henry Overman, 2000. "Zipfs Law for Cities: An Empirical Examination," CEP Discussion Papers dp0484, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Henry G. Overman & Yannis Ioannides, 2000. "Zipf's law for cities: an empirical examination," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20136, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Overman, Henry G. & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2001.
"Cross-Sectional Evolution of the U.S. City Size Distribution,"
Journal of Urban Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 543-566, May.
- Henry G. Overman & Yannis Menelaos Ioannides, 2001. "Cross-sectional evolution of the U.S. city size distribution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 584, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Y Ioannides & Henry Overman, 2000. "Cross Sectional Evolution of the US City Size Distribution," CEP Discussion Papers dp0483, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Yannis M. Ioannides & Henry G. Overman, 1999. "Cross-Sectional Evolution of the U.S. City Size Distribution," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9926, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
- Henry G. Overman & Yannis Ioannides, 2000. "Cross sectional evolution of the US city size distribution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20137, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Linda Harris Dobkins & Yannis M. Ioannides, 1999.
"Spatial Interactions Among U.S. Cities: 1900-1990,"
Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University
9913, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
- Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
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