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A new framework for the US city size distribution: Empirical evidence and theory

  • Ramos, Arturo
  • Sanz-Gracia, Fernando
  • González-Val, Rafael

We study the US city size distribution using the Census places data, without size restriction, for the period (1900-2010). Also, we use the recently introduced US City Clustering Algorithm (CCA) data for 1991 and 2000. We compare the lognormal, two distributions named after Ioannides and Skouras (2013) and the double Pareto lognormal with two newly introduced distributions. The empirical results are overwhelming: One of the new distributions widely outperform any of the previously used density functions for each type of data. We also develop a theory which generates the new distributions based on the standard geometric Brownian motion for the population in the short term. We propose some extensions of the theory in order to deal with the long term empirical features.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 52190.

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Date of creation: 13 Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:52190
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  11. Giesen, Kristian & Zimmermann, Arndt & Suedekum, Jens, 2010. "The size distribution across all cities - Double Pareto lognormal strikes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 129-137, September.
  12. Reed, William J., 2001. "The Pareto, Zipf and other power laws," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 15-19, December.
  13. Edward Miguel & Gerard Roland, 2006. "The Long Run Impact of Bombing Vietnam," NBER Working Papers 11954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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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. 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.
  19. Hern�n D. Rozenfeld & Diego Rybski & Xavier Gabaix & Hern�n A. Makse, 2011. "The Area and Population of Cities: New Insights from a Different Perspective on Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2205-25, August.
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  22. Reed, William J., 2003. "The Pareto law of incomes—an explanation and an extension," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 319(C), pages 469-486.
  23. Rafael González-Val & Arturo Ramos & Fernando Sanz-Gracia, 2013. "The accuracy of graphs to describe size distributions," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(17), pages 1580-1585, November.
  24. Anderson, Gordon & Ge, Ying, 2005. "The size distribution of Chinese cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 756-776, November.
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  29. González-Val, Rafael & Ramos, Arturo & Sanz, Fernando & Vera-Cabello, María, 2013. "Size Distributions for All Cities: Which One is Best?," MPRA Paper 44314, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  30. Toda, Alexis Akira, 2012. "The double power law in income distribution: Explanations and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 364-381.
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