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Zipfs Law for Cities: A Cross Country Investigation

  • Kwok Tong Soo

This paper assesses the empirical validity of Zipf¿s Law for cities, using new data on 73countries and two estimation methods ¿ OLS and the Hill estimator. With either estimator,we reject Zipf¿s Law far more often than we would expect based on random chance; for 53out of 73 countries using OLS, and for 30 out of 73 countries using the Hill estimator. TheOLS estimates of the Pareto exponent are roughly normally distributed, but those of the Hillestimator are bimodal. Variations in the value of the Pareto exponent are better explained bypolitical economy variables than by economic geography variables.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0641.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0641
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  19. Rosen, Kenneth T. & Resnick, Mitchel, 1980. "The size distribution of cities: An examination of the Pareto law and primacy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 165-186, September.
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