Zipf's Law

12 December 2018

Zipf’s law is a constant curiosity for urban observers. According to the law, the size of a city (i.e. population) is inversely related to the city’s population rank. This implies that the largest city is twice as large as the second largest city, three times as large as the third largest city, and so on.

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Full color, stylized maps created for my working paper on local political fragmentation and economic growth. These three maps examine long-run (1960-2000) growth in population, employment, and per capita money income among 314 U.S. metropolitan areas.

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Created in R with ggplot2. The relevant code is below.

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Recent Work

  • “House Prices and Property Tax Revenues During the Boom and Bust: Evidence from Small-Area Estimates.” Growth and Change 49 (4): 636-656. Abstract  pdf
  • “Do Cities and Counties Attempt to Circumvent Changes in Their Autonomy by Creating Special Districts?” The American Review of Public Administration. Abstract  pdf
  • “Political Fragmentation & Economic Growth in U.S. Metropolitan Areas.” Abstract  pdf
  • “State Legislative Ideology & the Preemption of City Ordinances: The Case of Worker Rights Laws.” Abstract  pdf

Current Teaching



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