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The French Overall City Size Distribution

Author

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  • Kristian GIESEN

    () (Mercator School of Management, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)

  • Jens SÜDEKUM

    () (Mercator School of Management, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)

Abstract

We analyze the overall size distribution across all French settlements in the year 2008. The sizes of the largest French cities follow the famous Zipf's law fairly closely, with Paris being a notable outlier. However, for the overall city size distribution (CSD), Zipf's law is not a useful approximation. We show that the lognormal (LN) distribution does a reasonable job in fitting the overall French CSD. Yet, it is clearly outperformed by a different parameterization, the double Pareto lognormal (DPLN) distribution. This is consistent with our previous findings for city sizes in the US and other countries. We discuss the implications of these results for urban growth theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristian GIESEN & Jens SÜDEKUM, 2012. "The French Overall City Size Distribution," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 36, pages 107-126.
  • Handle: RePEc:tou:journl:v:36:y:2012:p:107-126
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    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. Rafael González-Val & Arturo Ramos & Fernando Sanz-Gracia & María Vera-Cabello, 2015. "Size distributions for all cities: Which one is best?," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(1), pages 177-196, March.
    3. Ramos, Arturo, 2015. "Log-growth distributions of US city sizes and non-Lévy processes," MPRA Paper 66561, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ramos, Arturo & Sanz-Gracia, Fernando & González-Val, Rafael, 2013. "A new framework for the US city size distribution: Empirical evidence and theory," MPRA Paper 52190, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Arturo, Ramos, 2019. "Have the log-population processes stationary and independent increments? Empirical evidence for Italy, Spain and the USA along more than a century," MPRA Paper 93562, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Ramos, Arturo & Sanz-Gracia, Fernando, 2015. "US city size distribution revisited: Theory and empirical evidence," MPRA Paper 64051, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ZIPF'S LAW; GIBRAT'S LAW; CITY SIZE DISTRIBUTIONS; DOUBLE PARETO LOGNORMAL;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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)
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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