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Searching for the parallel growth of cities


  • Chen, Zhihong
  • Fu, Shihe
  • Zhang, Dayong


Three urban growth theories predict parallel growth of cities. The endogenous growth theory predicts deterministic parallel growth; the random growth theory implies that city growth follows Gibrat’s law with a steady-state distribution; and the hybrid growth theory suggests the co-movement of random city growth. This paper uses the Chinese city size data from 1984-2006 and time series econometric techniques to test for parallel growth. The results from various types of stationarity tests on pooled heterogeneous cities show that city growth is random. However, once growth trend and structural change are taken into account, certain groups of cities with common group characteristics, such as similar natural resource endowment or policy regime, grow parallel.

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  • Chen, Zhihong & Fu, Shihe & Zhang, Dayong, 2010. "Searching for the parallel growth of cities," MPRA Paper 21528, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21528

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    Cited by:

    1. Michel DIMOU & Alexandra SCHAFFAR & Zhihong CHEN & Shihe FU, 2008. "La Croissance Urbaine Chinoise Reconsidérée," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 27, pages 109-131.
    2. Aloysius Gunadi Brata & Henri L.F. de Groot & Piet Rietveld, 2013. "Dynamics in Aceh and North Sumatera after the Twin Disasters: An Investigation into the Relevance of the Locational Fundamental Theory," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-115/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Aurélie LALANNE & Martin ZUMPE, 2015. "Zipf’s law, Gibrat’s law and Cointegration," Cahiers du GREThA 2015-27, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    4. Wu, Jian-Xin & He, Ling-Yun, 2017. "How do Chinese cities grow? A distribution dynamics approach," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 470(C), pages 105-118.
    5. Lalanne, Aurélie & Zumpe, Martin, 2015. "Gibrat’s law, Zipf’s law and Cointegration," MPRA Paper 67992, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Kuznetsov, Andrei & Dinwoodie, John & Gibbs, David & Sansom, Mark & Knowles, Harriet, 2015. "Towards a sustainability management system for smaller ports," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 59-68.
    7. Chao Li & John Gibson, 2016. "Pareto's Law and City Size in China: Diverging Patterns in Land and People," Working Papers in Economics 16/09, University of Waikato.

    More about this item


    Urban growth; Parallel growth; Zipf’s law; Unit root; Structural change;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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