Table of Contents
Journal of Thermodynamics
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 676495, 8 pages
Research Article

Statistical Thermodynamics of Economic Systems

1Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, AP 70543, 04510 México, DF, Mexico
2Dipartimento di Fisica and ICRA, Università di Roma La Sapienza, 00185 Roma, Italy
3Departamento de Matemáticas, Universidad Militar Nueva Granada, Carrera 11 No. 101-80, 110111 Bogotá, DE, Colombia

Received 17 June 2011; Revised 22 August 2011; Accepted 30 August 2011

Academic Editor: Pedro Jorge Martins Coelho

Copyright © 2011 Hernando Quevedo and María N. Quevedo. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We formulate the thermodynamics of economic systems in terms of an arbitrary probability distribution for a conserved economic quantity. As in statistical physics, thermodynamic macroeconomic variables emerge as the mean value of microeconomic variables, and their determination is reduced to the computation of the partition function, starting from an arbitrary function. Explicit hypothetical examples are given which include linear and nonlinear economic systems as well as multiplicative systems such as those dominated by a Pareto law distribution. It is shown that the macroeconomic variables can be drastically changed by choosing the microeconomic variables in an appropriate manner. We propose to use the formalism of phase transitions to study severe changes of macroeconomic variables.