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Inequality in nature and society

  1. Egbert H. van Nesa
  1. aEnvironmental Science Department, Wageningen University, 6700 HB Wageningen, The Netherlands
  2. bDepartment of History, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Edited by Simon A. Levin, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, and approved November 3, 2017 (received for review April 18, 2017)

  1. Fig. 2.

    Four unifying mechanisms that shape inequality and their specific drivers in nature (solid lines) and society (text boxes with dashed borders).

  2. Fig. 3.

    Examples showing how simulations of wealth of actors (Left) starting from an entirely equal situation quickly lead to inequality (Right) emerging solely from multiplicative gains and losses of otherwise equivalent competitors. The simulations shown in A and B are without savings, while those in C and D represent simulations with savings, illustrating that such an additive process reduces the tendency for hyperdominance generated by the multiplicative gains and losses. The results are generated by a minimal model of wealth (SI Appendix, section 4). Similar results can be obtained from a model of neutrally competing species in a natural community (SI Appendix, section 5).

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