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Zipf’s law for Chinese cities: Rolling sample regressions


  • Peng, Guohua


We study the validity of Zipf’s Law in a data set of Chinese city sizes for the years 1999–2004, when the numbers of cities remain almost constant after a rapid urbanization process during the period of the market-oriented economy and reform-open policy. Previous investigations are restricted to log–log rank–size regression for a fixed sample. In contrast, we use rolling sample regression methods in which the sample is changing with the truncation point. The intuition is that if the distribution is Pareto with a coefficient one (Zipf’s law holds), rolling sample regressions should yield a constant coefficient regardless of what the sample is. We find that the Pareto exponent is almost monotonically decreasing in the truncation point; the mean estimated coefficient is 0.84 for the full dataset, which is not so far from 1.

Suggested Citation

  • Peng, Guohua, 2010. "Zipf’s law for Chinese cities: Rolling sample regressions," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 389(18), pages 3804-3813.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:389:y:2010:i:18:p:3804-3813 DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2010.05.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Segarra, Agustí & Teruel, Mercedes, 2012. "An appraisal of firm size distribution: Does sample size matter?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 314-328.
    2. Chen, Yanguang, 2012. "The rank-size scaling law and entropy-maximizing principle," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 391(3), pages 767-778.
    3. Chen, Yanguang & Wang, Jiejing, 2014. "Recursive subdivision of urban space and Zipf’s law," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 395(C), pages 392-404.
    4. 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.
    5. Sen, Hu & Chunxia, Yang & Xueshuai, Zhu & Zhilai, Zheng & Ya, Cao, 2015. "Distributions of region size and GDP and their relation," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 430(C), pages 46-56.
    6. repec:spr:anresc:v:59:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s00168-017-0839-0 is not listed on IDEAS


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