Geografie 2009, 114, 282-297

Nomothetic geography revisited: statistical distributions, their underlying principles, and inequality measures

Josef Novotný, Vojtěch Nosek

Department of Social Geography and Regional development, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Albertov 6, 128 43 Praha 2, Czechia

The paper focuses on some issues related to regularities in the statistical distributions of various social and environmental phenomena. Firstly, an older concern with statistical distributions of complex systems is revisited in order to exemplify surprisingly similar findings obtained across different disciplines. This interest has also been reflected in geography with a lot of activity given to the documentation and classification of the regularities but less to their explanations. As such, in the second part, some basic examples of general (statistical rather than context-specific) underlying principles for considered types of distributions are mentioned. The third part addresses related question of the measurement of inequality, which is the most commonly studied quantitative aspect of a statistical distribution. The performance of selected parametric measures of inequality is tested with respect to data coming from differently skewed distributions.


The authors acknowledge support from the Research Grant MSM 0021620831 sponsored by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and from the project GA UK 8388/2008.


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