IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Does Zipf's Law Hold for Primate Cities? Some Evidence from a Discriminant Analysis of World Countries

  • Boris A. Portnov

    ()

Registered author(s):

    According Zipf's Law, city sizes follow a Pareto distribution, with the rank (R) of a city i being proportional to its size (S): R(i)=A*S-α or ln(R) = ln(A)-α*ln(S), where α is a slope gradient or Pareto parameter, varying around 1. However, several empirical studies, carried out to date, indicate that the sizes of the first largest cities in many countries (with ranks of 1 and 2) are not exactly given to Zip’s Law, but with relatively large errors. In our study, we consider the ratio between the size of the first largest city and the size of the second largest city (B-ratio) for a very large ensemble of 177 countries across the world. A surprising result of this work is that only a small number of countries (about 35%) have their B-ratios within the limits expected under Zipf’s Law (B=0.4÷0.6). As we also learn from the discriminant analysis of our country-wide data, high urbanization levels are likely to reduce the gap in population sizes between the first and the second city, while the first city being the national capital is likely to widen the gap between it and its “nearest neighbor” in the national city-size distribution.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa10/ERSA2010finalpaper105.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa10p105.

    as
    in new window

    Length:
    Date of creation: Sep 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p105
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria
    Web page: http://www.ersa.org

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Puga, Diego, 1999. "The rise and fall of regional inequalities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 303-334, February.
    2. Rosen, Kenneth T. & Resnick, Mitchel, 1980. "The size distribution of cities: An examination of the Pareto law and primacy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 165-186, September.
    3. Boris A. Portnov & Daniel Felsenstein, 2005. "Measuring Regional Disparities in Small Countries," ERSA conference papers ersa05p136, European Regional Science Association.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p105. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.