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Regular version of the site

Article

Zipf's law as assessment tool of urban inequality

Regional Science Inquiry. 2016. Vol. 8. No. 3. P. 19-30.
Rastvortseva S., Manaeva I.

The paper is concerned with the topical issues of regional economics – urban inequality in  the Russian Federation. Empirical investigations of Zipf's law were studied in the foreign and  Russian  literature.  Application  of  this  law  for  assessment  of  urban  inequality  using  the  method  of  least  squares  was  substantiated.  Assessment  of  urban  inequality  within  the  boundaries of the RF federal districts by the indices of population, volume of own production  of goods and services is carried out in the paper. The authors used the data of the Federal  State Statistics Service for 2014, the investigation included the settlements with the status of a  town and with the population over 100 thousand people. Zipf's law displays over the entire  territory of Russia. By the population index in the federal districts, Zipf's factor varies within  the  range  from  –  0.7  (Northwestern  Federal  District)  to  –  0.9  (North  Caucasian  Federal  District). As a result of the performed analysis of the Russia's cities by the population index,  Zipf's factor is within the range from –0.3 (Northwestern Federal District) to –1.2 (Central  Federal District). Analysis of the volume of production of goods and services determined the  range  of  Zipf's  factor  from  –0.26  (North  Caucasian Federal  District)  to  –  0.7  (Central  and  Volga Federal Districts). By the index of population and volume of production of goods and  services  the  following  "primate  cities"  are  determined:  Moscow  and  Saint  Petersburg,  Yekaterinburg (population), which allows to draw a conclusion on their dominance in urban  system and high differentiation of cities by these indices. The obtained empirical estimators  prove that Russia has no intermediate group of cities macroregional centers. The results of the  investigation can be used for creation of methodological tools to develop the mechanisms of  smoothing of interregional inequality, program of economic and social development of cities.