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New Evidence on Gibrat’s Law for Cities

González-Val, Rafael and Lanaspa, Luis and Sanz, Fernando (2008): New Evidence on Gibrat’s Law for Cities.

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Abstract

The aim of this work is to test empirically the validity of Gibrat’s Law in the growth of cities, using data for all the twentieth century of the complete distribution of cities (without any size restrictions) in three countries: the US, Spain and Italy. On considering the distribution of cities, we find a tendency to divergence. However, this fact does not impede, whether from an empirical or a theoretical point of view, that city size distribution can be adequately approximated with a lognormal distribution. Also, the conclusions which can be obtained as to fulfilment or not of Gibrat’s Law depend, first, on the sample size and, second, on the size of the cities being considered (large or small), which means that the results of any study which does not use all the distribution will be relative.

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