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Zipf's law for cities: an empirical examination

Overman, Henry G. and Ioannides, Yannis (2000) Zipf's law for cities: an empirical examination. CEPDP, 484. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. ISBN 0753014424

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Abstract

We use data for metro areas in the United States, from the US Census for 1900 û 1990, to test the validity of Zipf''s Law for cities. Previous investigations are restricted to regressions of log size against log rank. In contrast, we use a nonparametric procedure to calculate local Zipf exponents from the mean and variance of city growth rates. This also allows us to test for the validity of Gibrat''s Law for city growth processes. Despite variation in growth rates as a function of city size, Gibrat''s Law does hold. In addition the local Zipf exponents are broadly consistent with Zipf''s Law. Deviations from Zipf''s Law are easily explained by deviations from Gibrat''s Law.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk
Additional Information: © 2000 the authors
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Departments > Geography and Environment
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: 484
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2008 16:50
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/20136/

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