Power Laws, the Price Model, and the Pareto type-2 Distribution#
Abstract. We consider a version of D. Price’s model for the growth of a bibliographic network, where in each iteration, a constant number of citations is randomly allocated according to a weighted combination of the accidental (uniformly distributed) and the preferential (rich-get-richer) rule. Instead of relying on the typical master equation approach, we formulate and solve this problem in terms of the rank-size distribution. We show that, asymptotically, such a process leads to a Pareto-type 2 distribution with a new, appealingly interpretable parametrisation. We prove that the solution to the Price model expressed in terms of the rank-size distribution coincides with the expected values of order statistics in an independent Paretian sample. An empirical analysis of a large repository of academic papers yields a good fit not only in the tail of the distribution (as it is usually the case in the power law-like framework), but also across a significantly larger fraction of the data domain.