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The distribution of all French communes: A composite parametric approach


  • Calderín-Ojeda, Enrique


The distribution of the size of all French settlements (communes) from 1962 to 2012 is examined by means of a three-parameter composite Lognormal–Pareto distribution. This model is based on a Lognormal density up to an unknown threshold value and a Pareto density thereafter. Recent findings have shown that the untruncated settlement size data is in excellent agreement with the Lognormal distribution in the lower and central parts of the empirical distribution, but it follows a power law in the upper tail. For that reason, this probabilistic family, that nests both models, seems appropriate to describe urban agglomeration in France. The outcomes of this paper reveal that for the early periods (1962–1975) the upper quartile of the commune size data adheres closely to a power law distribution, whereas for later periods (2006–2012) most of the city size dynamics is explained by a Lognormal model.

Suggested Citation

  • Calderín-Ojeda, Enrique, 2016. "The distribution of all French communes: A composite parametric approach," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 450(C), pages 385-394.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:450:y:2016:i:c:p:385-394
    DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2016.01.018

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Miguel Puente-Ajovín & Arturo Ramos, 2015. "On the parametric description of the French, German, Italian and Spanish city size distributions," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 54(2), pages 489-509, March.
    2. Ioannides, Yannis & Skouras, Spyros, 2013. "US city size distribution: Robustly Pareto, but only in the tail," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 18-29.
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    4. Giesen, Kristian & Zimmermann, Arndt & Suedekum, Jens, 2010. "The size distribution across all cities - Double Pareto lognormal strikes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 129-137, September.
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    7. Luckstead, Jeff & Devadoss, Stephen, 2014. "A comparison of city size distributions for China and India from 1950 to 2010," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(2), pages 290-295.
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    9. Moura, Newton J. & Ribeiro, Marcelo B., 2006. "Zipf law for Brazilian cities," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 367(C), pages 441-448.
    10. Gangopadhyay, Kausik & Basu, B., 2009. "City size distributions for India and China," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 388(13), pages 2682-2688.
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    City size; Composite models; France; Lognormal; Pareto;


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