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

15 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2012

See all articles by Kristian Giesen

Kristian Giesen

University of Duisburg-Essen

Jens Suedekum

University of Duisburg-Essen

Date Written: February 13, 2012

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).

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

JEL Classification: R110, R120, O400

Suggested Citation

Giesen, Kristian and Suedekum, Jens, The Size Distribution Across All 'Cities': A Unifying Approach (February 13, 2012). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3730. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2004229

Kristian Giesen

University of Duisburg-Essen ( email )

Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany

Jens Suedekum (Contact Author)

University of Duisburg-Essen

Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany

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