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Cities and Countries

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  • Rose, Andrew K

Abstract

If one ranks cities by population, the rank of a city is inversely related to its size, a well-documented phenomenon known as Zipf's Law. Further, the growth rate of a city's population is uncorrelated with its size, another well-known characteristic known as Gibrat's Law. In this paper, I show that both characteristics are true of countries as well as cities; the size distributions of cities and countries are similar. But theories that explain the size-distribution of cities do not obviously apply in explaining the size-distribution of countries. The similarity of city- and country-size distributions is an interesting riddle.

Suggested Citation

  • Rose, Andrew K, 2005. "Cities and Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 5235, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5235
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Nitsch, Volker, 2005. "Zipf zipped," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 86-100, January.
    5. Krugman, Paul, 1996. "Confronting the Mystery of Urban Hierarchy," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 399-418, December.
    6. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Bogomolnaia & Michel Le Breton & Alexei Savvateev & Shlomo Weber, 2008. "Heterogeneity Gap in Stable Jurisdiction Structures," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(3), pages 455-473, June.
    2. Jesús Clemente & Rafael González-Val & Irene Olloqui, 2011. "Zipf’s and Gibrat’s laws for migrations," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 47(1), pages 235-248, August.
    3. 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.
    4. Harry P. Bowen & Haris Munandar & Jean-Marie Viaene, 2006. "Evidence and Implications of Zipf’s Law for Integrated Economies," CESifo Working Paper Series 1743, CESifo.
    5. Mariusz A. Sumlinski, 2008. "International Reserves—Too Much of a Zipf’s Thing," IMF Working Papers 2008/011, International Monetary Fund.
    6. González-Val, Rafael, 2007. "The evolution of the US urban structure from a long-run perspective (1900-2000)," MPRA Paper 9732, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    distribution; empirical; Gibrat; growth; logarithm; mean; rank; size; Zipf;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F00 - International Economics - - General - - - General
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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