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The Size Distribution Across All "Cities": A Unifying Approach


Kristian Giesen


University of Duisburg-Essen

Jens Suedekum


University of Duisburg-Essen; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)


IZA Discussion Paper No. 6352

Abstract:     
In this paper we show that the double Pareto lognormal (DPLN) parameterization provides an excellent fit to the overall US city size distribution, regardless of whether "cities" are administratively defined Census places or economically defined area clusters. We then consider an economic model that combines scale-independent urban growth (Gibrat's law) with endogenous city creation. City sizes converge to a DPLN distribution in this model, which is much better in line with the data than previous urban growth frameworks that predict a lognormal or a Pareto city size distribution (Zipf's law).

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: Zipf's law, Gibrat's law, city size distributions, double Pareto-Lognormal

JEL Classification: R11, R12, O4

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Date posted: February 25, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Giesen, Kristian and Suedekum, Jens, The Size Distribution Across All "Cities": A Unifying Approach. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6352. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2010947

Contact Information

Kristian Giesen (Contact Author)
University of Duisburg-Essen ( email )
Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany
Jens Südekum
University of Duisburg-Essen ( email )
Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
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