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A scale-free transportation network explains the city-size distribution

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  • Berliant, Marcus
  • Watanabe, Hiroki

Abstract

Zipf’s law is one of the best-known empirical regularities of the city-size distribution. There is extensive research on the subject, where each city is treated symmetrically in terms of the cost of transactions with other cities. Recent developments in network theory facilitate the examination of an asymmetric transport network. Under the scale-free transport network framework, the chance of observing extremes becomes higher than the Gaussian distribution predicts and therefore it explains the emergence of large clusters. City-size distributions share the same pattern. This paper proposes a way to incorporate network structure into urban economic models and explains the city-size distribution as a result of transport cost between cities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 34820.

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Date of creation: 17 Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34820

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Keywords: Zipf’s law; city-size distribution; scale-free network;

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  1. Berliant, Marcus & Watanabe, Hiroki, 2009. "Explaining the size distribution of cities: x-treme economies," MPRA Paper 13671, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Kwok Tong Soo, 2004. "Zipfs Law for Cities: A Cross Country Investigation," CEP Discussion Papers dp0641, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
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Cited by:
  1. P. Nijkamp & A. Reggiani, 2012. "Did Zipf Anticipate Socio-Economic Spatial Networks?," Working Papers wp816, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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