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"Models of statistical physics applied to economy (Econophysics)"

Relatore: Prof. J. R. Iglesias, Instituto di Fisica UFRGS, P- Il Prof. Iglesias e' docente sia alla Facolta` di Fisica che alla Facolta` di Economia dell' Universita` federale di Porto Alegre

Aula Newton
20 Aprile 2005 ore 16.30

We present a short historical introduction to the application of methods of statistical physics to economic problems. We first discuss as examples the volatility of financial markets and risk management, then we focus on the origin of wealth distribution, particularly on the power-law behavior of the income distribution (Pareto law). Next, we study the effect of the social stratification on the wealth distribution in a system of interacting economic agents that are constrained to interact only within their own economic class. The economical mobility of the agents is related to their success in exchange transactions. Different wealth distributions are obtained as a function of the width of the economic class. We find a range of widths in which the society is divided into two classes separated by a deep gap that prevents further exchange between poor and rich agents. As a consequence, the middle wealth class is eliminated. The high values of the Gini indices obtained in these cases indicate a highly unequal society. On the other hand, lower and higher widths induce lower Gini indices indicating a fairer wealth distribution.