Further Analysis of the Zipf Law: Does the Rank-Size Rule Really Exist?
The widely-used Zipf law has two striking regularities: excellent fit and close-to-one exponent. When the exponent equals to one, the Zipf law collapses into the rank-size rule. This paper further analyzes the Zipf exponent. By changing the sample size, the truncation point, and the mix of cities in the sample, we found that the exponent is close to one only for some selected sub-samples. Using the values of estimated exponent from the rolling sample method, we obtained an elasticity of the exponent with respect to sample size.
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