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A scale-free transportation network explains the city-size distribution

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  • Berliant, Marcus
  • Watanabe, Hiroki

Abstract

Zipf’s law is one of the best-known empirical regularities of the city-size distribution. There is extensive research on the subject, where each city is treated symmetrically in terms of the cost of transactions with other cities. Recent developments in network theory facilitate the examination of an asymmetric transport network. Under the scale-free transport network framework, the chance of observing extremes becomes higher than the Gaussian distribution predicts and therefore it explains the emergence of large clusters. City-size distributions share the same pattern. This paper proposes a way to incorporate network structure into urban economic models and explains the city-size distribution as a result of transport cost between cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Berliant, Marcus & Watanabe, Hiroki, 2011. "A scale-free transportation network explains the city-size distribution," MPRA Paper 34820, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34820
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. P. Nijkamp & A. Reggiani, 2012. "Did Zipf Anticipate Socio-Economic Spatial Networks?," Working Papers wp816, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Zipf’s law; city-size distribution; scale-free network;

    JEL classification:

    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - 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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