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The evolution of city size distribution in Portugal: 1864-2001

Listed author(s):
  • Ana Paula Delgado


    (CEDRES, Faculdade de Economia da Universidade do Porto)

  • Isabel Maria Godinho


    (CEDRES, Escola Secundária de Oliveira Martins)

Registered author(s):

    The rank-size model - which states that the size distribution of cities in a country follows a Pareto distribution - has been recognized as one of those stylized facts or amazing empirical regularities, in spatial economics. A common problem in city size distribution studies concerns the definition of “cities”, namely the consistency of those definitions over time. In this paper we use a city-proper data base which uses a consistent definition of cities from 1864 to 1991. Portugal is a country with long established national borders and whose mainland urban system shows a constant number of cities over that period. In Portugal, empirical evidence on city size distribution based on census data shows that two large cities dominate the urban system, associated with a large number of very small cities and a clear deficit of medium-size cities. In this paper we analyse the evolution of the rank size exponent and examine the effect of varying city size cut-offs on the estimate value of that exponent. Then, we study the deviations of the rank-size distribution from linearity. Finally, we explore the dynamics underlying the evolution of the urban system by examining the relationship between city growth rates and city size.

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    Paper provided by Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto in its series FEP Working Papers with number 151.

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    Length: 26 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2004
    Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:151
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    1. Jorge M. S. Valente & Rui A. F. S. Alves, 2003. "Heuristics for the Early/Tardy Scheduling Problem with Release Dates," FEP Working Papers 130, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    2. Duranton, Gilles, 2002. "City size distributions as a consequence of the growth process," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20065, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Carlos Alves & Victor Mendes, 2001. "Corporate Governance Policy and Company Performance: The Case of Portugal," FEP Working Papers 112, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    4. Margarida de Mello & Kevin S. Nell, 2001. "The Forecasting Ability of a Cointegrated VAR Demand System with Endogeneous vs. Exogenous Expenditure Variable: An application to the UK imports of tourism from neighbouring countries," FEP Working Papers 109, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    5. Celsa Machado, 2001. "Measuring Business Cycles: The Real Business Cycle Approach and Related Controversies," FEP Working Papers 107, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    6. Ana Paula Serra, 2002. "The Cross-Sectional Determinants of Returns: Evidence from Emerging Markets' Stocks," FEP Working Papers 120, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    7. Ana Paula Serra, 2002. "Event Study Tests: A brief survey," FEP Working Papers 117, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    8. Alvaro Aguiar & Manuel M. F. Martins, 2003. "Trend, cycle, and non-linear trade-off in the Euro Area 1970-2001," FEP Working Papers 122, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    9. Jorge M. S. Valente & Rui A. F. S. Alves, 2003. "An Exact Approach to Early/Tardy Scheduling with Release Dates," FEP Working Papers 129, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    10. Aurora Teixeira, 2002. "On the Link between Human Capital and Firm Performance. A Theoretical and Empirical Survey," FEP Working Papers 121, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
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