Matlaba, V.J., Holmes, M.J., McCann, P. & Poot, J. (2011). A century of the evolution of the urban system in Brazil. (Department of Economics Working Paper Series, Number 12/11). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5447
In this paper, we study the hitherto unexplored evolution of the size distribution of 185 urban areas in Brazil between 1907 and 2008. We find that the power law parameter of the size distribution of the 100 largest urban areas increases from 0.63 in 1907 to 0.89 in 2008, which confirms an agglomeration process in which the size distribution has become more unequal. A panel fixed effects model pooling the same range of urban size distributions provides a power law parameter equal to 0.53, smaller than those from cross-sectional estimation. Clearly, Zipf’s Law is rejected. The lognormal distribution fits the city size distribution quite well until the 1940s, but since then applies to small and medium size cities only. These results are consistent with our understanding of historical-political and socio-economic processes that have shaped the development of Brazilian cities.
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