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Socio-economic utility and chemical potential

  • R\'emi Lemoy
  • Eric Bertin
  • Pablo Jensen
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    In statistical physics, the conservation of particle number results in the equalization of the chemical potential throughout a system at equilibrium. In contrast, the homogeneity of utility in socio-economic models is usually thought to rely on the competition between individuals, leading to Nash equilibrium. We show that both views can be reconciled by introducing a notion of chemical potential in a wide class of socio-economic models, and by relating it in a direct way to the equilibrium value of the utility. This approach also allows the dependence of utility across the system to be determined when agents take decisions in a probabilistic way. Numerical simulations of a urban economic model also suggest that our result is valid beyond the initially considered class of solvable models.

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    File URL: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1010.3225
    File Function: Latest version
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    Paper provided by arXiv.org in its series Papers with number 1010.3225.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2010
    Date of revision: Feb 2011
    Publication status: Published in EPL 93, 38002 (2011)
    Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1010.3225
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://arxiv.org/

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