Modeling the origin of urban-output scaling laws

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Urban outputs often scale superlinearly with city population. A difficulty in understanding the mechanism of this phenomenon is that different outputs differ considerably in their scaling behaviors. Here, we formulate a physics-based model for the origin of superlinear scaling in urban outputs by treating human interaction as a random process. Our model suggests that the increased likelihood of finding required collaborations in a larger population can explain this superlinear scaling, which our model predicts to be non-power-law. Moreover, the extent of superlinearity should be greater for activities that require more collaborators. We test this model using a novel dataset for seven crime types and find strong support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number032306
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 16 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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