Wealth distribution under the spread of infectious diseases

G. Dimarco, L. Pareschi, G. Toscani, M. Zanella (28/4/2020 preprint arXiv:2004.13620)

We develop a mathematical framework to study the economic impact of infectious diseases by integrating epidemiological dynamics with a kinetic model of wealth exchange. The multi-agent description leads to study the evolution over time of a system of kinetic equations for the wealth densities of susceptible, infectious and recovered individuals, whose proportions are driven by a classical compartmental model in epidemiology.
Explicit calculations show that the spread of the disease seriously affects the distribution of wealth, which, unlike the situation in the absence of epidemics, can converge towards a stationary state with a bimodal form. Furthermore, simulations confirm the ability of the model to describe different phenomena characteristics of economic trends in situations compromised by the rapid spread of an epidemic, such as the unequal impact on the various wealth classes and the risk of a shrinking middle class.