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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics