IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_1728.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Century of Shocks: The Evolution of the German City Size Distribution 1925 – 1999

Author

Listed:
  • Maarten Bosker
  • Steven Brakman
  • Harry Garretsen
  • Marc Schramm

Abstract

The empirical literature on city size distributions has mainly focused on the USA. The first major contribution of this paper is to provide empirical evidence on the evolution and structure of the West-German city size distribution. Using a unique annual data set that covers most of the 20th century for 62 of West-Germany's largest cities, we look at the evolution of both the city size distribution as a whole and each city separately. The West-German case is of particular interest as it has undergone major shocks, most notably WWII. Our data set allows us to identify these shocks and provide evidence on the effects of these `quasi-natural experiments' on the city size distribution. The second major contribution of this paper is that we perform unit-root tests on individual German city sizes using a substantial number of observations to analyze the evolution of the individual cities that make up the German city size distribution. Our main findings are twofold. First, WWII has had a major and lasting impact on the city size distribution. Second, the overall city size distribution does not adhere to Zipf's Law. This second finding is largely based on the results of unit root tests for individual cities to test for Gibrat's Law, the latter being a requirement for Zipf's Law to hold for the overall city-size distribution. Together these two findings are consistent with theories emphasizing increasing returns to scale in city growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Maarten Bosker & Steven Brakman & Harry Garretsen & Marc Schramm, 2006. "A Century of Shocks: The Evolution of the German City Size Distribution 1925 – 1999," CESifo Working Paper Series 1728, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1728
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp1728.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Eaton, Jonathan & Eckstein, Zvi, 1997. "Cities and growth: Theory and evidence from France and Japan," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4-5), pages 443-474, August.
    3. Stephen J. Redding & Daniel M. Sturm & Nikolaus Wolf, 2011. "History and Industry Location: Evidence from German Airports," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 814-831, August.
    4. Ng, S. & Perron, P., 1994. "Unit Root Tests ARMA Models with Data Dependent Methods for the Selection of the Truncation Lag," Cahiers de recherche 9423, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
    5. John Y. Campbell & Pierre Perron, 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know About Unit Roots," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 141-220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Yannis M. Ioannides & Henry G. Overman, 2004. "Spatial evolution of the US urban system," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 131-156, April.
    7. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Urban Structure and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 597-624.
    8. Stephen J. Redding & Daniel M. Sturm, 2008. "The Costs of Remoteness: Evidence from German Division and Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1766-1797, December.
    9. Bosker, Maarten & Brakman, Steven & Garretsen, Harry & Schramm, Marc, 2007. "Looking for multiple equilibria when geography matters: German city growth and the WWII shock," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 152-169, January.
    10. 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.
    11. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2008. "A Search For Multiple Equilibria In Urban Industrial Structure," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 29-65, February.
    12. Henderson, J V, 1974. "The Sizes and Types of Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 640-656, September.
    13. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
    14. Anderson, Gordon & Ge, Ying, 2005. "The size distribution of Chinese cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 756-776, November.
    15. John Sutton, 1997. "Gibrat's Legacy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 40-59, March.
    16. Bruce E. Hansen, 2001. "The New Econometrics of Structural Change: Dating Breaks in U.S. Labour Productivity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 117-128, Fall.
    17. Steven Brakman & Harry Garretsen & Marc Schramm, 2004. "The strategic bombing of German cities during World War II and its impact on city growth," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 201-218, April.
    18. Perron, Pierre, 1997. "Further evidence on breaking trend functions in macroeconomic variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 355-385, October.
    19. Quah, Danny, 1993. "Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 426-434, April.
    20. Ioannides, Yannis M. & Overman, Henry G., 2003. "Zipf's law for cities: an empirical examination," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 127-137, March.
    21. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-1072, June.
    22. Gabaix, Xavier & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "The evolution of city size distributions," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 53, pages 2341-2378, Elsevier.
    23. Xavier Gabaix & Rustam Ibragimov, 2011. "Rank - 1 / 2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 24-39, January.
    24. Sharma, Shalini, 2003. "Persistence and stability in city growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 300-320, March.
    25. Soo, Kwok Tong, 2005. "Zipf's Law for cities: a cross-country investigation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 239-263, May.
    26. Cavaliere, Giuseppe, 2005. "Limited Time Series With A Unit Root," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(5), pages 907-945, October.
    27. Nitsch, Volker, 2005. "Zipf zipped," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 86-100, January.
    28. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 2003. "Urban evolution in the USA," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(4), pages 343-372, October.
    29. Bruce E. Hansen, 2000. "Sample Splitting and Threshold Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 575-604, May.
    30. Perron, Pierre, 1989. "The Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1361-1401, November.
    31. Perron, Pierre, 1990. "Testing for a Unit Root in a Time Series with a Changing Mean," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(2), pages 153-162, April.
    32. Hohenberg, Paul M., 2004. "The historical geography of European cities: An interpretive essay," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 67, pages 3021-3052, Elsevier.
    33. Im, Kyung So & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Shin, Yongcheol, 2003. "Testing for unit roots in heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 53-74, July.
    34. Perron, Pierre & Vogelsang, Timothy J, 1992. "Testing for a Unit Root in a Time Series with a Changing Mean: Corrections and Extensions," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(4), pages 467-470, October.
    35. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf's Law for Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767.
    36. Levin, Andrew & Lin, Chien-Fu & James Chu, Chia-Shang, 2002. "Unit root tests in panel data: asymptotic and finite-sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-24, May.
    37. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2002. "Bones, Bombs, and Break Points: The Geography of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1269-1289, December.
    38. J. Stephen Clark & Jack C. Stabler, 1991. "Gibrat's Law and the Growth of Canadian Cities," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 28(4), pages 635-639, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Rafael Gonz�lez-Val & Luis Lanaspa, 2016. "Patterns in US Urban Growth, 1790-2000," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(2), pages 289-309, February.
    2. Kwok Tong Soo, 2014. "Zipf, Gibrat and geography: Evidence from China, India and Brazil," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(1), pages 159-181, March.
    3. repec:wyi:journl:002175 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Chen, Zhihong & Fu, Shihe & Zhang, Dayong, 2010. "Searching for the parallel growth of cities," MPRA Paper 21528, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Tomoya Mori & Tony E. Smith, 2009. "A Reconsideration of the NAS Rule from an Industrial Agglomeration Perspective," KIER Working Papers 669, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    6. Michel DIMOU & Alexandra SCHAFFAR & Zhihong CHEN & Shihe FU, 2008. "LA CROISSANCE URBAINE CHINOISE RECONSIDeReE," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 27, pages 109-131.
    7. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2014. "The Growth of Cities," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 5, pages 781-853, Elsevier.
    8. 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.
    9. Valente J. Matlaba & Mark J. Holmes & Philip McCann & Jacques Poot, 2013. "A Century Of The Evolution Of The Urban System In Brazil," Review of Urban & Regional Development Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(3), pages 129-151, November.
    10. Stephen J. Redding, 2010. "The Empirics Of New Economic Geography," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 297-311, February.
    11. Rafael González-Val & Marcos Sanso-Navarro, 2010. "Gibrat’s law for countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(4), pages 1371-1389, September.
    12. González-Val, Rafael & Lanaspa, Luis & Sanz, Fernando, 2008. "New Evidence on Gibrat’s Law for Cities," MPRA Paper 10411, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Ramos, Arturo & Sanz-Gracia, Fernando, 2015. "US city size distribution revisited: Theory and empirical evidence," MPRA Paper 64051, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Guy Michaels & Ferdinand Rauch & Stephen J. Redding, 2012. "Urbanization and Structural Transformation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 535-586.
    15. Lee, Sanghoon & Li, Qiang, 2013. "Uneven landscapes and city size distributions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 19-29.
    16. Arshad, Sidra & Hu, Shougeng & Ashraf, Badar Nadeem, 2019. "Zipf’s law, the coherence of the urban system and city size distribution: Evidence from Pakistan," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 513(C), pages 87-103.
    17. Daniel ARRIBAS-BEL & Fernando SANZ GRACIA & Domingo P. XIMENEZ-DE-EMBUN, 2012. "Kangaroos, Cities And Space: A First Approach To The Australian Urban System," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 36, pages 165-187.
    18. repec:asg:wpaper:1011 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. repec:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa14p34 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Klein, Alexander & Leunig, Tim, 2013. "Gibrat’s Law and the British Industrial Revolution," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 146, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    21. Kristian Giesen & Jens Südekum, 2011. "Zipf's law for cities in the regions and the country," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 667-686, July.
    22. Gabaix, Xavier & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "The evolution of city size distributions," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 53, pages 2341-2378, Elsevier.
    23. Stephen J. Redding, 2013. "Economic Geography: A Review of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Daniel Bernhofen & Rod Falvey & David Greenaway & Udo Kreickemeier (ed.), Palgrave Handbook of International Trade, chapter 16, pages 497-531, Palgrave Macmillan.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1728. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.