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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido Cozzi & Fabio Privileggi, 2002. "Wealth Polarization and Pulverization in Fractal Societies," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 39-2002, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:icr:wpmath:39-2002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Gajdos, Thibault & Tallon, Jean-Marc & Vergnaud, Jean-Christophe, 2004. "Decision making with imprecise probabilistic information," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, pages 647-681.
    3. 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.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Guido Cozzi & Noemi Mantovan, 2012. "The Evolution of Ideology, Fairness and Redistribution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(565), pages 1244-1261, December.
    5. Gajdos, Thibault & Maurin, Eric, 2004. "Unequal uncertainties and uncertain inequalities: an axiomatic approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, pages 93-118.
    6. Thibault Gadjos & Jean-Marc Tallon & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2002. "Decision Making with Imprecise Probabilistic Information," Working Papers 2002-33, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    7. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2005. "Certainty Independence and the Separation of Utility and Beliefs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, pages 129-136.
    8. Müller, Alfred & Scarsini, Marco, 2005. "Archimedean copulæ and positive dependence," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 434-445, April.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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