IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Redistribution spurs growth by using a portfolio effect on human capital


  • Jan Lorenz
  • Fabian Paetzel
  • Frank Schweitzer


We demonstrate by mathematical analysis and systematic computer simulations that redistribution can lead to sustainable growth in a society. The human capital dynamics of each agent is described by a stochastic multiplicative process which, in the long run, leads to the destruction of individual human capital and the extinction of the individualistic society. When agents are linked by fully-redistributive taxation the situation might turn to individual growth in the long run. We consider that a government collects a proportion of income and reduces it by a fraction as costs for administration (efficiency losses). The remaining public good is equally redistributed to all agents. We derive conditions under which the destruction of human capital can be turned into sustainable growth, despite the losses from the random growth process and despite the administrative costs. Sustainable growth is induced by redistribution. This effect could be explained by a simple portfolio-effect which re-balances individual stochastic processes. The findings are verified for three different tax schemes: proportional tax, taking proportional more from the rich, and proportionally more from the poor. We discuss which of these tax schemes is optimal with respect to maximize growth under a fixed rate of administrative costs, or with respect to maximize the governmental income. This leads us to some general conclusions about governmental decisions, the relation to public good games, and the use of taxation in a risk taking society.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Lorenz & Fabian Paetzel & Frank Schweitzer, 2012. "Redistribution spurs growth by using a portfolio effect on human capital," Papers 1210.3716,
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1210.3716

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Latest version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    2. Grochulski, Borys & Piskorski, Tomasz, 2010. "Risky human capital and deferred capital income taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 908-943, May.
    3. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    4. G. Yaari & S. Solomon, 2010. "Cooperation evolution in random multiplicative environments," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 73(4), pages 625-632, February.
    5. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    6. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-187, June.
    7. G. Yaari & D. Stauffer & S. Solomon, 2008. "Intermittency and Localization," Papers 0802.3541,, revised Mar 2008.
    8. A. Chatterjee & B. K. Chakrabarti, 2007. "Kinetic exchange models for income and wealth distributions," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 60(2), pages 135-149, November.
    9. Barro, Robert J, 2000. "Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
    10. Arnab Chatterjee & Bikas K. Chakrabarti, 2007. "Kinetic Exchange Models for Income and Wealth Distributions," Papers 0709.1543,, revised Nov 2007.
    11. Marco Patriarca & Anirban Chakraborti & Guido Germano, 2005. "Influence of saving propensity on the power law tail of wealth distribution," Papers physics/0506028,
    12. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    13. Adrian Dragulescu & Victor M. Yakovenko, 2000. "Statistical mechanics of money," Papers cond-mat/0001432,, revised Aug 2000.
    14. Ofer Malcai & Ofer Biham & Peter Richmond & Sorin Solomon, 2002. "Theoretical Analysis and Simulations of the Generalized Lotka-Volterra Model," Papers cond-mat/0208514,
    15. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
    16. Victor M. Yakovenko & J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Colloquium: Statistical mechanics of money, wealth, and income," Papers 0905.1518,, revised Dec 2009.
    17. Gur Yaari & Sorin Solomon, 2008. "Cooperation Evolution in Random Multiplicative Environments," Papers 0807.1823,, revised Jan 2010.
    18. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1210.3716. 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). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.