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A Century Of The Evolution Of The Urban System In Brazil

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  • Valente J. Matlaba
  • Mark J. Holmes
  • Philip McCann
  • Jacques Poot

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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  • Valente J. Matlaba & Mark J. Holmes & Philip McCann & Jacques Poot, 2013. "A Century Of The Evolution Of The Urban System In Brazil," Review of Urban & Regional Development Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(3), pages 129-151, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revurb:v:25:y:2013:i:3:p:129-151
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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.
    2. Cerqueti, Roy & Ausloos, Marcel, 2015. "Evidence of economic regularities and disparities of Italian regions from aggregated tax income size data," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 421(C), pages 187-207.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • N96 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • 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)

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