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The French Overall City Size Distribution

  • Kristian GIESEN

    ()

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

  • Jens SÜDEKUM

    ()

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

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.

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Article provided by Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var in its journal Région et Développement.

Volume (Year): 36 (2012)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 107-126

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Handle: RePEc:tou:journl:v:36:y:2012:p:107-126
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  2. Yannis M. Ioannides & Spyros Skouras, 2009. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities: A Rejoinder," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0740, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  3. 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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  12. 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.
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  16. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  17. Kwok Tong Soo, 2004. "Zipfs Law for Cities: A Cross Country Investigation," CEP Discussion Papers dp0641, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  18. Gabaix, Xavier & Ibragimov, Rustam, 2011. "Rank − 1 / 2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(1), pages 24-39.
  19. Rafael González‐Val, 2010. "The Evolution Of U.S. City Size Distribution From A Long‐Term Perspective (1900–2000)," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(5), pages 952-972, December.
  20. Bosker, Maarten & Buringh, Eltjo, 2010. "City seeds. Geography and the origins of the European city system," CEPR Discussion Papers 8066, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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