Universal Growth in Production Economies

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Simina Branzei, Ruta Mehta, Noam Nisan


We study a simple variant of the von Neumann model of an expanding economy, in which multiple producers make goods according to their production function. The players trade their goods at the market and then use the bundles received as inputs for the production in the next round. The decision that players have to make is how to invest their money (i.e. bids) in each round.

We show that a simple decentralized dynamic, where players update their bids on the goods in the market proportionally to how useful the investments were, leads to growth of the economy in the long term (whenever growth is possible) but also creates unbounded inequality, i.e. very rich and very poor players emerge. We analyze several other phenomena, such as how the relation of a player with others influences its development and the Gini index of the system.