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Zipf's Law and urban growth in Malaysia

Research output: Working paper

Publication date2005
Place of PublicationLancaster University
PublisherThe Department of Economics
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameEconomics Working Paper Series


This paper performs a test of Zipf's Law (the size distribution of cities follows a Pareto distribution with shape parameter equal to 1) using data for Malaysian cities from five population censuses (1957, 1970, 1980, 1991 and 2000). We reject Zipf's Law for all periods except 1957, in favour of a city size distribution that is more unequal than would be predicted by Zipf's Law. We also find evidence against Gibrat's Law of proportional growth: smaller cities grow faster, as do state capitals and cities in the states of Sabah and Selangor.