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Size Distributions for All Cities: Which One is Best?

  • González-Val, Rafael
  • Ramos, Arturo
  • Sanz, Fernando
  • Vera-Cabello, María

This paper analyses in detail the features offered by three distributions used in urban economics to describe city size distributions: lognormal, q-exponential and double Pareto lognormal, and another one of use in other areas of economics: the log-logistic. We use a large database which covers all cities with no size restriction in the US, Spain and Italy from 1900 until 2010, and, in addition, the last available year for the rest of the countries of the OECD. We estimate the previous four density functions by maximum likelihood. To check the goodness of the fit in all periods and for the thirty-four countries we use the Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Cramér-von Mises tests, and compute the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) and the Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC). The results show that the distribution which best fits the data in most of the cases (86.76%) is the double Pareto lognormal.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 44314.

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Date of creation: 09 Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:44314
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  1. Michaels, Guy & Rauch, Ferdinand & Redding, Stephen J., 2008. "Urbanization and Structural Transformation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7016, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  4. Rafael González-Val & Luis Lanaspa & Fernando Sanz, 2012. "New evidence on Gibrat’s law for cities," Working Papers 2012/18, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
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  6. Henry G. Overman & Yannis Ioannides, 2000. "Zipf's law for cities: an empirical examination," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20136, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  12. Rafael González‐Val, 2010. "The Evolution Of U.S. City Size Distribution From A Long‐Term Perspective (1900–2000)," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(5), pages 952-972, December.
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  17. 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.
  18. Ioannides, Yannis & Skouras, Spyros, 2013. "US city size distribution: Robustly Pareto, but only in the tail," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 18-29.
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