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Cross Sectional Evolution of the US City Size Distribution

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  • Y Ioannides
  • Henry Overman

Abstract

We report nonparametrically estimated stochastic transition kernels for the evolution of the distribution of US metropolitan area populations, for the period 1900 to 1990. These suggest a fair amount of uniformity in the patterns of mobility during the study period. The distribution of city sizes is predominantly character-sed by persistence. Additional kernel estimates do not reveal any stark differences in intra-region mobility patterns. We characterise the nature of intra-size distribution dynamics by means of measures that do not require discretisation of the city size distribution. We employ these measures to study the degree of mobility within the US city size distribution and, separately, within regional and urban subsystems. We find that different regions show different degrees of intra-distribution mobility. Second-tier cities show more mobility than top-tier cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Y Ioannides & Henry Overman, 2000. "Cross Sectional Evolution of the US City Size Distribution," CEP Discussion Papers dp0483, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0483
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 2003. "Urban evolution in the USA," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(4), pages 343-372, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    City size distribution; cross-sectional evolution; intradistribution mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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