On the Distribution of City Sizes
AbstractThe city size distribution of many countries is remarkably well approximated by a Pareto distribution. We study what constraints this regularity imposes on standard urban models. We find that under general conditions urban models must have (i) a balanced growth path and (ii) a Pareto distribution for the underlying source of randomness. In particular, one of the following combinations can induce a Pareto distribution of city sizes: (i) preferences for different goods follow reflected random walks, and the elasticity of substitution between goods is 1; or (ii) total factor productivities in the production of different goods follow reflected random walks, and increasing returns are equal across goods.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Urban/Regional with number 0302002.
Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 14 Feb 2003
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 31 ; figures: included
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City Size Distribution; Zipf's Law; Rank-Size Rule; Pareto Distribution; Urban Growth; Multisectorial Models; Balanced Growth; Cities;
Other versions of this item:
- R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
- R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
- O41 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
- J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2003-02-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-GEO-2003-02-18 (Economic Geography)
- NEP-URE-2003-02-18 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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