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A Century of the Evolution of the Urban System in Brazil

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  • Valente J. Matlaba

    ()
    (University of Waikato)

  • Mark Holmes

    ()
    (University of Waikato)

  • Philip McCann

    ()
    (University of Groningen)

  • Jacques Poot

    ()
    (University of Waikato)

Abstract

In this paper, we study the hitherto unexplored evolution of the size distribution of 185 urban areas in Brazil between 1907 and 2008. We find that the power law parameter of the size distribution of the 100 largest urban areas increases from 0.63 in 1907 to 0.89 in 2008, which confirms an agglomeration process in which the size distribution has become more unequal. A panel fixed effects model pooling the same range of urban size distributions provides a power law parameter equal to 0.53, smaller than those from cross-sectional estimation. Clearly, Zipf’s Law is rejected. The lognormal distribution fits the city size distribution quite well until the 1940s, but since then applies to small and medium size cities only. These results are consistent with our understanding of historical-political and socio-economic processes that have shaped the development of Brazilian cities.

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File URL: ftp://mngt.waikato.ac.nz/RePEc/wai/econwp/1112.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Waikato, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 11/12.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 21 Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:11/12

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Keywords: Zipf’s Law; Gibrat’s Law; lognormal distribution; city size; population growth; Brazil;

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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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