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On the distribution of city sizes

Juan Cordoba ()

Journal of Urban Economics, 2008, vol. 63, issue 1, 177-197

Abstract: The city size distribution in many countries is remarkably well described by a Pareto distribution. We derive conditions that standard urban models must satisfy in order to explain this regularity. We show that under general conditions urban models must have (i) a balanced growth path and (ii) a Pareto distribution for the underlying source of randomness. In particular, one of the following combinations can induce a Pareto distribution of city sizes: (i) preferences for different goods follow reflected random walks, and the elasticity of substitution between goods is 1; or (ii) total factor productivities of different goods follow reflected random walks, and increasing returns are equal across goods.

Keywords: City; size; distribution; Zipf'; s; Law; Rank-Size; Rule; Pareto; distribution; Urban; growth; Multisectorial; models; Balanced; growth; Cities (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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Related works:
Working Paper: On the Distribution of City Sizes (2010)
Working Paper: On the Distribution of City Sizes (2003) Downloads
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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:63:y:2008:i:1:p:177-197