Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Kinetic theory models for the distribution of wealth: power law from overlap of exponentials


Author Info

  • Marco Patriarca
  • Anirban Chakraborti
  • Kimmo Kaski
  • Guido Germano


Various multi-agent models of wealth distributions defined by microscopic laws regulating the trades, with or without a saving criterion, are reviewed. We discuss and clarify the equilibrium properties of the model with constant global saving propensity, resulting in Gamma distributions, and their equivalence to the Maxwell-Boltzmann kinetic energy distribution for a system of molecules in an effective number of dimensions $D_\lambda$, related to the saving propensity $\lambda$ [M. Patriarca, A. Chakraborti, and K. Kaski, Phys. Rev. E 70 (2004) 016104]. We use these results to analyze the model in which the individual saving propensities of the agents are quenched random variables, and the tail of the equilibrium wealth distribution exhibits a Pareto law $f(x) \propto x^{-\alpha -1}$ with an exponent $\alpha=1$ [A. Chatterjee, B. K. Chakrabarti, and S. S. Manna, Physica Scripta T106 (2003) 367]. Here, we show that the observed Pareto power law can be explained as arising from the overlap of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distributions associated to the various agents, which reach an equilibrium state characterized by their individual Gamma distributions. We also consider the influence of different types of saving propensity distributions on the equilibrium state.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
File Function: Latest version
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by in its series Papers with number physics/0504153.

as in new window
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision: May 2005
Publication status: Published in New Economic Windows 2, 93-110, 2005
Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:physics/0504153

Contact details of provider:
Web page:

Related research



No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Patriarca, Marco & Chakraborti, Anirban & Germano, Guido, 2006. "Influence of saving propensity on the power-law tail of the wealth distribution," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 369(2), pages 723-736.
  2. Anindya S. Chakrabarti, 2011. "Firm dynamics in a closed, conserved economy: A model of size distribution of employment and related statistics," Papers 1112.2168,
  3. Chakrabarti, Anindya S. & Chakrabarti, Bikas K., 2010. "Statistical theories of income and wealth distribution," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 4(4), pages 1-31.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:arx:papers:physics/0504153. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (arXiv administrators).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.