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Wealth Polarization and Pulverization in Fractal Societies

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  • Guido Cozzi

    ()

  • Fabio Privileggi

    ()

Abstract

In this paper we study the geometrical properties of the support of the limit distributions of income/wealth in economies with uninsurable individual risk, and how they are affected by technology and preference parameters and by policy variables. We work out two simple successive generation models with stochastic human capital accumulation and with R&D and we prove that intense technological progress makes the support of the wealth distribution converge to a fractal Cantor-like set. Such limit distribution implies the disappearance of the middle class, with a “gap” between two polarized wealth clusters that widens as the growth rate becomes higher. Hence, we claim that in a highly meritocratic world in which the payoff of the successful individuals is high enough, and in which social mobility is strong, societies tend to look highly “fractalized”. We also show that a redistribution scheme financed by proportional taxation does not help cure society’s disconnection/polarization; on the contrary, it might increase it. Finally we show that these results are not confined to our analytically worked out examples but are easily extended to a widely used class of macroeconomic and growth models.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ICER - International Centre for Economic Research in its series ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series with number 39-2002.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:icr:wpmath:39-2002

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Keywords: Inequality and Growth; Education; Technological Change; Wealth Polarization/ Pulverization; Iterated Function System; Attractor; Fractal; Cantor Set; Invariant Distribution;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Thibault Gajdos & Jean-Marc Tallon & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2002. "Decision Making with Imprecise Probabilistic Information," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 18-2003, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research, revised May 2003.
  2. Alfred Müller & Marco Scarsini, 2003. "Archimedean Copulae and Positive Dependence," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 25-2003, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  3. Guido Cozzi & Fabio Privileggi, 2007. "The Fractal Nature of Inequality in a Fast Growing World," Working Papers 2007_45, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  4. Gajdos, Thibault & Maurin, Eric, 2004. "Unequal uncertainties and uncertain inequalities: an axiomatic approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(1), pages 93-118, May.
  5. Salvatore Modica & Marco Scarsini, 2003. "The convexity-cone approach to comparative risk and downside risk," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 01-2003, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  6. Renault, Jerome & Scarlatti, Sergio & Scarsini, Marco, 2005. "A folk theorem for minority games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 208-230, November.
  7. Antonio Lijoi & Igor Prünster & Stephen G. Walker, 2004. "Contributions to the understanding of Bayesian consistency," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 13-2004, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  8. Guido Cozzi & Fabio Privileggi, 2009. "The fractal nature of inequality in a fast growing world: new version," Working Papers 2009_30, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  9. Antonio Lijoi & Igor Prünster & Stephen G. Walker, 2004. "On rates of convergence for posterior distributions in infinite–dimensional models," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 24-2004, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  10. Antonio Lijoi & Igor Prünster & Stephen G. Walker, 2004. "On consistency of nonparametric normal mixtures for Bayesian density estimation," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 23-2004, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  11. Taizhong Hu & Alfred Müller & Marco Scarsini, 2002. "Some Counterexamples in Positive Dependence," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 28-2003, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research, revised Jul 2003.

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