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Working paper
Rafael González-Val

2016/08: Historical urban growth in Europe (1300–1800)

This paper analyses the evolution of the European urban system from a long-term perspective (from 1300 to 1800) considering the historical data set of Bairoch et al. (1988). Using the method recently proposed by Clauset et al. (2009), a Pareto-type city size distribution (power law) is rejected from 1300 to 1600. A power law is a plausible model for the city size distribution only in 1700 and 1800, although the log- normal distribution is another plausible alternative model that we cannot reject. Moreover, random growth of cities is rejected using parametric and non-parametric methods. The results reveal a clear pattern of convergent growth in all periods.

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