Monday, August 3, 9:00 a.m.
162 Research Hall

Chris Shin, PhD Student
Computational Social Science
George Mason University

Inequality and Growth

Inequality has reached the historical level these days and continued to grow not only in the U.S. but other developed countries. Wage differences due to the skill premium, a traditional belief, could not account for it any longer based on recent discussions and statistics. Furthermore, when it comes to the relationship between inequality and growth, theories forecast the direction opposite to what has been observed.

Previous studies on this matter have provided valuable insights, but their centers of attention have been on the direct relationship between two macro phenomena. Thus, those analyses were limited to investigate what would happen in the micro level, unseen to our eyes, and bridge micro-dynamics to macro-behaviors.

This dissertation, therefore, uses agent-based methodology to understand micro motives, based on which individuals make economic decisions adaptively. Inequality and growth are nothing but the product of individuals’ interactions – emergent phenomena. I propose a framework in which agents adjust their decisions according to the different institutions, e.g., compensation schemes, and through interactions among such individuals, inequality and growth could be placed on different paths with different directions under different environments. I expect that this research design would help me to identify the true drivers of what we have seen behind the human behaviors.