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Size Distributions for All Cities: Lognormal and q-exponential functions

  • Rafael González-Val

    ()

  • Arturo Ramos-Gutiérrez
  • Fernando Sanz-Gracia

This paper analyses in detail the features offered by a function which is practically new to Urban Economics, the q-exponential, in describing city size distributions. We highlight two contributions. First, we propose a new and simple procedure for estimating their parameters. Second, and more importantly, we explain the characteristics associated with two traditional graphic methods (Zipf plots and cumulative density functions) for discriminating between functions. We apply them to the lognormal and q-exponential, justifying them as the best functions for explaining the entire distribution, and that the relationship between them is of complementarity. The empirical evidence relies on the analysis of urban data of three countries (USA, Spain and Italy) over all of the 20th century.

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Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa11p554.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa11p554
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  1. Guy Michaels & Ferdinand Rauch & Stephen Redding, 2008. "Urbanisation and structural transformation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25495, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Kamecke, Ulrich, 1990. "Testing the rank size rule hypothesis with an efficient estimator," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 222-231, March.
  3. Paul Cheshire & Stefano Magrini, 2006. "Population growth in European cities: Weather matters - but only nationally," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 23-37.
  4. Hsing, Yu, 1990. "A note on functional forms and the urban size distribution," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 73-79, January.
  5. Bosker, Maarten & Brakman, Steven & Garretsen, Harry & Schramm, Marc, 2008. "A century of shocks: The evolution of the German city size distribution 1925-1999," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 330-347, July.
  6. Gabaix, Xavier & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "The evolution of city size distributions," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 53, pages 2341-2378 Elsevier.
  7. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  8. 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.
  9. Yannis M. Ioannides & Spyros Skouras, 2009. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities: A Rejoinder," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0740, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
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