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Cities as Spatial Clusters

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  • Ferdinand Rauch

Abstract

This paper shows that Zipf's Law for cities can emerge as a property of a clustering process. If initially uniformly distributed people chose their location based on a specific gravity equation as found in trade studies, they will form cities that follow Zipf's Law in expected value. This view of cities as spatial agglomerations is supported empirically by the observation that larger cities are surrounded by larger hinterland areas and larger countryside populations.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferdinand Rauch, 2013. "Cities as Spatial Clusters," Economics Series Working Papers 656, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:656
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/12758/paper656.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Hernán D. Rozenfeld & Diego Rybski & Xavier Gabaix & Hernán A. Makse, 2011. "The Area and Population of Cities: New Insights from a Different Perspective on Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2205-2225, August.
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    9. Thomas J. Holmes & Sanghoon Lee, 2010. "Cities as Six-by-Six-Mile Squares: Zipf's Law?," NBER Chapters,in: Agglomeration Economics, pages 105-131 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ferdinand Rauch, 2016. "The Geometry of the Distance Coefficient in Gravity Equations in International Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(5), pages 1167-1177, November.
    2. Ferdinand Rauch, 2014. "A Fable of Bees and Gravity," Economics Series Working Papers 716, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Sergey Kuznetsov & Nikolay Mezhevich & Stanislav Lachininskii, 2015. "The Spatial Recourses and Limitations of the Russian Economy Modernization: the Example of the North-West Macro Region," Economy of region, Centre for Economic Security, Institute of Economics of Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, vol. 1(3), pages 25-38.
    4. Ramos, Arturo & Sanz-Gracia, Fernando, 2015. "US city size distribution revisited: Theory and empirical evidence," MPRA Paper 64051, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Zipf's Law for cities; distribution of city sizes;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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