Sequential City Growth: Empirical Evidence
Posted: 13 Oct 2008
Date Written: October 9, 2008
Using two comprehensive datasets on population of cities (1800-2000) and metropolitan areas (1960-2000) for a large set of countries, I present three new empirical facts about the evolution of city growth. First, the distribution of cities growth rates is skewed to the right in most countries and decades. Second, within a country, the rank of each decade's fastest growing cities tends to increase over time. Finally, this rank grows faster in periods of rapid growth in urban population. It is argued that these three observations can be rationalized with a simple urban growth model that predicts sequential city growth.
Keywords: city growth, Gibrat's law, city size distribution
JEL Classification: R11, R12
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