Uneven landscapes and the city size distribution
AbstractThis paper proposes a new explanation for Zipf’s law often observed in the top tail of city size distribution. We show that Zipf’s law can emerge if city size can be expressed as a product of multiple random factors. Each of the factors need not generate Zipf’s law by itself. The key implication is that we cannot reject a model simply because the model does not generate Zipf’s law. A single model, typically representing only one factor, may not generate Zipf’s law, but if we have many such models together as in reality, Zipf’s law may emerge.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2010/41.
Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
City size distribution; Zipf’s law; rank-size rule; log-normal distribution;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D39 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Other
- R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-10-30 (All new papers)
- NEP-GEO-2010-10-30 (Economic Geography)
- NEP-URE-2010-10-30 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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- David Albouy & Bryan Stuart, 2014. "Urban Population and Amenities," NBER Working Papers 19919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kristian Behrens & Gilles Duranton & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2013.
"Productive cities: Sorting, selection, and agglomeration,"
Research Papers by the Department of Economics, University of Geneva
13111, Département des Sciences Économiques, Université de Genève.
- Behrens, Kristian & Duranton, Gilles & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2010. "Productive cities: Sorting, selection and agglomeration," CEPR Discussion Papers 7922, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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