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Socio-economic utility and chemical potential

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  • R'emi Lemoy
  • Eric Bertin
  • Pablo Jensen

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • R'emi Lemoy & Eric Bertin & Pablo Jensen, 2010. "Socio-economic utility and chemical potential," Papers 1010.3225, arXiv.org, revised Feb 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1010.3225
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    File URL: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1010.3225
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    Cited by:

    1. Rémi Lemoy & Charles Raux & Pablo Jensen, 2016. "Exploring the polycentric city with multi-worker households: an agent-based microeconomic model," Post-Print hal-00602087, HAL.
    2. Vincent Boitier, 2014. "Unemployment Dispersion and City Configurations: Beyond the Bid Rent Theory," Working Papers hal-00999559, HAL.

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