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Sequential city growth: empirical evidence

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  • David Cuberes

    ()
    (Dpto. Fundamentos del Análisis Económico)

Abstract

Using two comprehensive datasets on population of cities (1800-2000) and metropolitan areas (1960-2000) for a large set of countries, I present three new empirical facts about the evolution of city growth. First, the distribution of cities growth rates is skewed to the right in most countries and decades. Second, within a country, the average rank of each decade's fastest growing cities tends to increase over time. Finally, this rank grows faster in periods of rapid growth in urban population. These facts can be interpreted as evidence in favor of the idea that urban agglomerations have historically grown following a sequential growth pattern: within a country, the initially largest city is the first one to grow rapidly for some years. At some point, the growth rate of this city slows down and the second largest city is then the fastest-growing one. Eventually, the third largest city starts growing fast as the two largest cities slow down, and so on.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) in its series Working Papers. Serie AD with number 2010-05.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by Ivie
Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2010-05

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Related research

Keywords: City growth; increasing returns; congestion costs; urbanization; Gibrat's Law;

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References

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  1. Eaton, Jonathan & Eckstein, Zvi, 1997. "Cities and growth: Theory and evidence from France and Japan," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4-5), pages 443-474, August.
  2. 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.
  3. repec:fth:stanho:e-95-4 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Cuberes, David & Dougan, William, 2009. "How Endogenous Is Money? Evidence from a New Microeconomic Estimate," MPRA Paper 17744, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Glaeser, E.L. & Scheinkman, J.A., 1993. "Economic Growth in a Cross-Section of Cities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1645, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. 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.
  7. Cuberes David, 2009. "A Model of Sequential City Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-41, May.
  8. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2001. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1931, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
  10. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2001. "Bones, Bombs and Break Points: The Geography of Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 8517, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Alberto Chong & Mark Gradstein & Cecilia Calderon, 2009. "Can foreign aid reduce income inequality and poverty?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 59-84, July.
  12. Gilles Duranton, 2007. "Urban Evolutions: The Fast, the Slow, and the Still," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 197-221, March.
  13. Findeisen, Sebastian & Südekum, Jens, 2008. "Industry churning and the evolution of cities: Evidence for Germany," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 326-339, September.
  14. José J. Sempere Monerris & Rafael Moner Colonques & Amparo Urbano Salvador, 2010. "Trade liberalization in vertically related markets," Working Papers. Serie AD 2010-09, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  15. Vernon Henderson & Anthony Venables, 2009. "Dynamics of city formation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(2), pages 233-254, April.
  16. Canning, David & Bennathan, Esra, 2000. "The social rate of return on infrastructure investments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2390, The World Bank.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rafael Gonzalez-Val & Luis Lanaspa, 2013. "Patterns in US Urban Growth (1790?2000)," ERSA conference papers ersa13p254, European Regional Science Association.
  2. Kristian Giesen & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "The size distribution across all “cities”: a unifying approach," Working Papers 2012/2, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  3. Südekum, Jens & Giesen, Kristian, 2013. "City Age and City Size," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79996, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  4. Sánchez-Vidal, María & González-Val, Rafael & Viladecans-Marsal, Elisabet, 2014. "Sequential city growth in the US: Does age matter?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 29-37.
  5. Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga, 2013. "The Growth Of Cities," Working Papers wp2013_1308, CEMFI.
  6. Cuberes, David, 2008. "A Model of Sequential City Growth," MPRA Paper 8431, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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