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Growth and Fluctuations of Personal Income


  • Yoshi Fujiwara
  • Wataru Souma
  • Hideaki Aoyama
  • Taisei Kaizoji
  • Masanao Aoki


Pareto's law states that the distribution of personal income obeys a power-law in the high-income range, and has been supported by international observations. Researchers have proposed models over a century since its discovery. However, the dynamical nature of personal income has been little studied hitherto, mostly due to the lack of empirical work. Here we report the first such study, an examination of the fluctuations in personal income of about 80,000 high-income taxpayers in Japan for two consecutive years, 1997 and 1998, when the economy was relatively stable. We find that the distribution of the growth rate in one year is independent of income in the previous year. This fact, combined with an approximate time-reversal symmetry, leads to the Pareto law, thereby explaining it as a consequence of a stable economy. We also derive a scaling relation between positive and negative growth rates, and show good agreement with the data. These findings provide the direct observation of the dynamical process of personal income flow not yet studied as much as for companies.

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  • Yoshi Fujiwara & Wataru Souma & Hideaki Aoyama & Taisei Kaizoji & Masanao Aoki, 2002. "Growth and Fluctuations of Personal Income," Papers cond-mat/0208398,
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:cond-mat/0208398

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud & Marc Mezard, 2000. "Wealth condensation in a simple model of economy," Science & Finance (CFM) working paper archive 500026, Science & Finance, Capital Fund Management.
    2. Drăgulescu, Adrian & Yakovenko, Victor M., 2001. "Exponential and power-law probability distributions of wealth and income in the United Kingdom and the United States," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 299(1), pages 213-221.
    3. Bouchaud, Jean-Philippe & Mézard, Marc, 2000. "Wealth condensation in a simple model of economy," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 282(3), pages 536-545.
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