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Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities: Reply

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  • Jan Eeckhout

Abstract

This reply refutes the objection raised by Levy (2009) about the fit of the upper tail of the city size distribution in Eeckhout (2004). I show that the method on which his conclusion is based is unsubstantiated. The visual interpretation of the fit on log-log plots is misleading. In addition, the methodology used to estimate a truncated subsample of the distribution while testing its significance against a distribution with prespecified parameters is ill-founded. The main conclusion is that Gibrat's law holds: city sizes follow proportionate growth, thus giving rise to a lognormal size distribution, tail included. (JEL R11, R12, R23)

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Eeckhout, 2009. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1676-1683, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:4:p:1676-83
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.4.1676
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2008. "Why has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 49-100.
    2. M. Goldstein & S. Morris & G. Yen, 2004. "Problems with fitting to the power-law distribution," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 41(2), pages 255-258, September.
    3. Morris A. Davis & Francois Ortalo-Magne, 2011. "Household Expenditures, Wages, Rents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(2), pages 248-261, April.
    4. 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.
    5. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
    6. Soo, Kwok Tong, 2005. "Zipf's Law for cities: a cross-country investigation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 239-263, May.
    7. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf's Law for Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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