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Cities as Spatial Clusters

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  • Ferdinand Rauch

Abstract

This paper shows that Zipf's Law for cities can emerge as a property of a clustering process.� If initially uniformly distributed people chose their location based on a specific gravity equation as found in trade studies, they will form cities that follow Zipf's Law in expected value.� This view of cities as spatial agglomerations is supported empirically by the observation that larger cities are surrounded by larger hinterland areas and larger countryside populations.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/12758/paper656.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 656.

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Date of creation: 31 May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:656

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Keywords: Zipf's Law for cities; distribution of city sizes;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Nitsch, Volker, 2003. "Does history matter for urban primacy? The case of Vienna," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 401-418, July.
  3. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Mark L. J. Wright, 2003. "Urban structure and growth," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 141, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Kristian Giesen & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "The Size Distribution Across All "Cities": A Unifying Approach," SERC Discussion Papers 0122, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  5. Kwok Tong Soo, 2004. "Zipf's law for cities: a cross country investigation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19947, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
  7. Nitsch, Volker, 2005. "Zipf zipped," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 86-100, January.
  8. Kristian Giesen & Jens Südekum, 2011. "Zipf's law for cities in the regions and the country," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 667-686, July.
  9. 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.
  10. Guy Michaels & Ferdinand Rauch & Stephen Redding, 2008. "Urbanisation and Structural Transformation," CEP Discussion Papers dp0892, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Yannis M. Ioannides & Spyros Skouras, 2009. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities: A Rejoinder," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0740, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  13. Hern�n D. Rozenfeld & Diego Rybski & Xavier Gabaix & Hern�n A. Makse, 2011. "The Area and Population of Cities: New Insights from a Different Perspective on Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2205-25, August.
  14. Wen‐Tai Hsu, 2012. "Central Place Theory and City Size Distribution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 903-932, 09.
  15. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 2003. "Urban evolution in the USA," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(4), pages 343-372, October.
  16. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  17. Thomas J. Holmes & Sanghoon Lee, 2010. "Cities as Six-by-Six-Mile Squares: Zipf’s Law?," NBER Chapters, in: Agglomeration Economics, pages 105-131 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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