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Sequential city growth: empirical evidence

David Cuberes ()

Working Papers. Serie AD from Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie)

Abstract: Using two comprehensive datasets on population of cities (1800-2000) and metropolitan areas (1960-2000) for a large set of countries, I present three new empirical facts about the evolution of city growth. First, the distribution of cities growth rates is skewed to the right in most countries and decades. Second, within a country, the average rank of each decade's fastest growing cities tends to increase over time. Finally, this rank grows faster in periods of rapid growth in urban population. These facts can be interpreted as evidence in favor of the idea that urban agglomerations have historically grown following a sequential growth pattern: within a country, the initially largest city is the first one to grow rapidly for some years. At some point, the growth rate of this city slows down and the second largest city is then the fastest-growing one. Eventually, the third largest city starts growing fast as the two largest cities slow down, and so on.

Keywords: City growth; increasing returns; congestion costs; urbanization; Gibrat's Law (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O14 O33 O57 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo and nep-ure
Date: 2010-03
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Published by Ivie

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http://www.ivie.es/downloads/docs/wpasad/wpasad-2010-05.pdf Fisrt version / Primera version, 2010 (application/pdf)

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Journal Article: Sequential city growth: Empirical evidence (2011) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2010-05

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