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Cross-Sectional Evolution of the U.S. City Size Distribution

  • Overman, Henry G.
  • Ioannides, Yannis M.

We report nonparametrically estimated stochastic transition kernels for the evolution of the distribution of US metropolitan area populations, for the period 1900 to 1990. These suggest a fair amount of uniformity in the patterns of mobility during the study period. The distribution of city sizes is predominantly character-sed by persistence. Additional kernel estimates do not reveal any stark differences in intra-region mobility patterns. We characterise the nature of intra-size distribution dynamics by means of measures that do not require discretisation of the city size distribution. We employ these measures to study the degree of mobility within the US city size distribution and, separately, within regional and urban subsystems. We find that different regions show different degrees of intra-distribution mobility. Second-tier cities show more mobility than top-tier cities.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 49 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 543-566

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:49:y:2001:i:3:p:543-566
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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  1. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 2003. "Urban evolution in the USA," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(4), pages 343-372, October.
  2. Cheshire, Paul, 1999. "Trends in sizes and structures of urban areas," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 35, pages 1339-1373 Elsevier.
  3. Linda Harris Dobkins & Yannis M. Ioannides, 1999. "Dynamic Evolution of the U.S. City Size Distribution," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9916, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  4. Jonathan Eaton & Zvi Eckstein, 1994. "Cities and Growth: Theory and Evidence from France and Japan," NBER Working Papers 4612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Danny Quah, 1992. "Empirical Cross-Section Dynamics in Economic Growth," FMG Discussion Papers dp154, Financial Markets Group.
  6. Quah, Danny T, 1997. " Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 27-59, March.
  7. Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Regional convergence clusters across Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 951-958, April.
  8. Rosen, Kenneth T. & Resnick, Mitchel, 1980. "The size distribution of cities: An examination of the Pareto law and primacy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 165-186, September.
  9. Quah, Danny, 1996. "Regional Convergence Clusters Across Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 1286, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  11. Quah, Danny, 1997. "Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," CEPR Discussion Papers 1586, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Fujita, Masahisa & Krugman, Paul & Mori, Tomoya, 1999. "On the evolution of hierarchical urban systems1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 209-251, February.
  13. Masahisa Fujita & Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, and International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262561476, June.
  14. Costas Megir & Danny Quah, 1996. "Regional Convergence Clusters Across Europe," CEP Discussion Papers dp0274, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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