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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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File URL: http://www.ivie.es/downloads/docs/wpasad/wpasad-2010-05.pdf
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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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Keywords: City growth; increasing returns; congestion costs; urbanization; Gibrat's Law;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Canning, David & Bennathan, Esra, 2000. "The social rate of return on infrastructure investments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2390, The World Bank.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2005. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 345-375, April.
  5. Jonathan Eaton & Zvi Eckstein, 1994. "Cities and Growth: Theory and Evidence from france and Japan," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 36, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  6. 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.
  7. Findeisen, Sebastian & Suedekum, Jens, 2007. "Industry Churning and the Evolution of Cities: Evidence for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3180, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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.
  9. repec:fth:stanho:e-95-4 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Cuberes David, 2009. "A Model of Sequential City Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-41, May.
  11. David Cuberes & William R. Dougan, 2010. "How Endogenous Is Money? Evidence from a New Microeconomic Estimate," Working Papers. Serie AD 2010-08, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  12. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
  13. Wheaton, William C & Shishido, Hisanobu, 1981. "Urban Concentration, Agglomeration Economies, and the Level of Economic Development," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 17-30, October.
  14. 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.
  15. 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).
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kristian Giesen & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "The Size Distribution Across All "Cities": A Unifying Approach," SERC Discussion Papers 0122, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  2. 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.
  3. Cuberes, David, 2008. "A Model of Sequential City Growth," MPRA Paper 8431, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2013. "The growth of cities," CEPR Discussion Papers 9590, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.
  6. González-Val, Rafael & Lanaspa, Luis, 2011. "Patterns in U.S. urban growth (1790–2000)," MPRA Paper 31006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. repec:wyi:journl:002175 is not listed on IDEAS

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