The Distribution of Urban Population and Economic Activity in the European Union and the United States

8 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2021 Last revised: 16 Jun 2021

See all articles by Miguel Puente-Ajovin

Miguel Puente-Ajovin

Independent; University of Zaragoza

Marcos Sanso-Navarro

Universidad de Zaragoza

María Vera-Cabello

Centro Universitario de la Defensa de Zaragoza

Date Written: April 24, 2021

Abstract

This letter compares the distribution of urban population and economic activity in the European Union and the United States. Economic activity, proxied with nighttime lights, is more unevenly distributed than population, especially in Europe. This reflects that more population does not necessarily imply a higher level of economic activity. Both Zipf's law and a Pareto distribution are rejected for aggregate nighttime lights within urban extents. Therefore, alternative specifications are required for the distribution of city sizes in terms of economic activity.

Keywords: City size distribution, Zipf's law, population, nighttime lights

JEL Classification: O18, O57, R12

Suggested Citation

Puente-Ajovin, Miguel and Puente-Ajovin, Miguel and Sanso-Navarro, Marcos and Vera-Cabello, María, The Distribution of Urban Population and Economic Activity in the European Union and the United States (April 24, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3824757 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3824757

Miguel Puente-Ajovin

Independent ( email )

University of Zaragoza ( email )

50005 Zaragoza
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://mpajovin.github.io

Marcos Sanso-Navarro (Contact Author)

Universidad de Zaragoza ( email )

Facultad de Economía y Empresa
Departamento de Análisis Económico
Zaragoza, 50005
Spain
+34 876 554 629 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://personal.unizar.es/marcossn

María Vera-Cabello

Centro Universitario de la Defensa de Zaragoza ( email )

Academia General Militar, Ctra. de Huesca, s/n
Zaragoza, Zaragoza 50009
Spain

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