Zipf's law for cities: an empirical examination
We use data for metro areas in the United States, from the US Census for 1900 - 1990, to test the validity of Zipf's Law for cities. Previous investigations are restricted to regressions of log size against log rank. In contrast, we use a nonparametric procedure to calculate local Zipf exponents from the mean and variance of city growth rates. This also allows us to test for the validity of Gibrat's Law for city growth processes. Despite variation in growth rates as a function of city size, Gibrat's Law does hold. In addition the local Zipf exponents are broadly consistent with Zipf's Law. Deviations from Zipf's Law are easily explained by deviations from Gibrat's Law.
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- Overman, Henry G. & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2001.
"Cross-Sectional Evolution of the U.S. City Size Distribution,"
Journal of Urban Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 543-566, May.
- Henry G. Overman & Yannis Ioannides, 2000. "Cross sectional evolution of the US city size distribution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20137, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Yannis M. Ioannides & Henry G. Overman, 1999. "Cross-Sectional Evolution of the U.S. City Size Distribution," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9926, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
- Henry G. Overman & Yannis Menelaos Ioannides, 2001. "Cross-sectional evolution of the U.S. city size distribution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 584, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Y Ioannides & Henry Overman, 2000. "Cross Sectional Evolution of the US City Size Distribution," CEP Discussion Papers dp0483, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Harris Dobkins, Linda & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2001.
"Spatial interactions among U.S. cities: 1900-1990,"
Regional Science and Urban Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 701-731, November.
- Linda Harris Dobkins & Yannis M. Ioannides, 1999. "Spatial Interactions Among U.S. Cities: 1900-1990," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9913, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
- 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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