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Zipf zipped

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  • Nitsch, Volker

Abstract

In this paper, I provide a quantitative review of the empirical literature on Zipf's law for cities; the meta-analysis combines 515 estimates from 29 studies. I find that the combined estimate of the Zipf coefficient is significantly larger than 1.0. This finding implies that cities are on average more evenly distributed than suggested by (a strict interpretation of) Zipf's law. I also identify several features that account for differences across the individual point estimates.

Suggested Citation

  • Nitsch, Volker, 2004. "Zipf zipped," Discussion Papers 2004/16, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:200416
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ioannides, Yannis M. & Overman, Henry G., 2003. "Zipf's law for cities: an empirical examination," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 127-137, March.
    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. Parr, John B., 1985. "A note on the size distribution of cities over time," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 199-212, September.
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    6. repec:wsi:wschap:9789814749237_0008 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Krugman, Paul, 1995. "Innovation and agglomeration: Two parables suggested by city-size distributions," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 371-390, November.
    8. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf's Law for Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767.
    9. Mino, Kazuo, 1995. "Innovation and agglomeration: Two parables suggested by city-size distributions: Comment," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 395-397, November.
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    12. Tim Jeppesen & John A. List & Henk Folmer, 2002. "Environmental Regulations and New Plant Location Decisions: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(1), pages 19-49.
    13. Holger Görg & Eric Strobl, 2016. "Multinational Companies And Productivity Spillovers: A Meta-Analysis," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: MULTINATIONAL ENTERPRISES AND HOST COUNTRY DEVELOPMENT Volume 53: World Scientific Studies in International Economics, chapter 8, pages 145-161 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    14. T. D. Stanley, 2001. "Wheat from Chaff: Meta-analysis as Quantitative Literature Review," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
    15. E J Malecki, 1980. "Growth and change in the analysis of rank - size distributions: empirical findings," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 12(1), pages 41-52, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Zipf's law; size distribution of cities; rank size rule; meta-analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R15 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Econometric and Input-Output Models; Other Methods

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