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Zipfs Law for Cities: A Cross Country Investigation

Kwok Tong Soo ()

CEP Discussion Papers from Centre for Economic Performance, LSE

Abstract: This paper assesses the empirical validity of Zipf¿s Law for cities, using new data on 73countries and two estimation methods ¿ OLS and the Hill estimator. With either estimator,we reject Zipf¿s Law far more often than we would expect based on random chance; for 53out of 73 countries using OLS, and for 30 out of 73 countries using the Hill estimator. TheOLS estimates of the Pareto exponent are roughly normally distributed, but those of the Hillestimator are bimodal. Variations in the value of the Pareto exponent are better explained bypolitical economy variables than by economic geography variables.

Keywords: Cities; Zipf¿s Law; Pareto distribution; Hill estimator (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C16 R12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo and nep-ure
Date: 2004-07
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Journal Article: Zipf's Law for cities: a cross-country investigation (2005) Downloads
Working Paper: Zipf's law for cities: a cross country investigation (2004) Downloads
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