Power laws, Pareto distributions and Zipf's law

  title={Power laws, Pareto distributions and Zipf's law},
  author={Mark E. J. Newman},
  journal={Contemporary Physics},
  pages={323 - 351}
  • M. Newman
  • Published 1 December 2004
  • Physics
  • Contemporary Physics
When the probability of measuring a particular value of some quantity varies inversely as a power of that value, the quantity is said to follow a power law, also known variously as Zipf's law or the Pareto distribution. Power laws appear widely in physics, biology, earth and planetary sciences, economics and finance, computer science, demography and the social sciences. For instance, the distributions of the sizes of cities, earthquakes, forest fires, solar flares, moon craters and people's… 
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