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Cities as Spatial Clusters

  • Ferdinand Rauch

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.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/12758/paper656.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 656.

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Date of creation: 31 May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:656
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  1. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Mark L. J. Wright, 2006. "Urban structure and growth," Staff Report 381, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 2003. "Urban evolution in the USA," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(4), pages 343-372, October.
  3. Jonathan Eaton & Zvi Eckstein, 1994. "Cities and Growth: Theory and Evidence from france and Japan," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 36, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  4. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  5. Kristian Giesen & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "The Size Distribution Across All "Cities": A Unifying Approach," SERC Discussion Papers 0122, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  6. Nitsch, Volker, 2005. "Zipf zipped," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 86-100, January.
  7. Yannis M. Ioannides & Spyros Skouras, 2009. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities: A Rejoinder," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0740, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  8. Xavier Gabaix & Yannis M. Ioannides, 2003. "The Evolution of City Size Distributions," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0310, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  9. Guy Michaels & Ferdinand Rauch & Stephen Redding, 2008. "Urbanisation and structural transformation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25495, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. 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.
  11. Hernán D. Rozenfeld & Diego Rybski & Xavier Gabaix & Hernán A. Makse, 2009. "The Area and Population of Cities: New Insights from a Different Perspective on Cities," NBER Working Papers 15409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Nitsch, Volker, 2003. "Does history matter for urban primacy? The case of Vienna," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 401-418, July.
  13. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
  14. 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.
  15. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
  16. 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.
  17. Wen‐Tai Hsu, 2012. "Central Place Theory and City Size Distribution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 903-932, 09.
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