On the Distribution of City Sizes
AbstractThe city size distribution in many countries is remarkably well described by a Pareto distribution. We derive conditions that standard urban models must satisfy in order to explain this regularity. We show that under general conditions urban models must have (i) a balanced growth path and (ii) a Pareto distribution for the underlying source of randomness. In particular, one of the following combinations can induce a Pareto distribution of city sizes: (i) preferences for different goods follow reflected random walks, and the elasticity of substitution between goods is 1; or (ii) total factor productivities of different goods follow reflected random walks, and increasing returns are equal across goods.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 32121.
Date of creation: 16 Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Urban Economics, January 2008, vol. 63 no. 1, pp. 177-197
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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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Other versions of this item:
- R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
- R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
- O41 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
- J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
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