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

16 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2012

See all articles by Kristian Giesen

Kristian Giesen

University of Duisburg-Essen

Jens Suedekum

Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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: R11, R12, O4

Suggested Citation

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

Kristian Giesen (Contact Author)

University of Duisburg-Essen ( email )

Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany

Jens Südekum

Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 1
Duesseldorf, NRW 40225
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
21
Abstract Views
391
PlumX Metrics