Volume 88, Number 3, November 2009
Article Number 38001
Number of page(s) 6
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 04 November 2009
EPL, 88 (2009) 38001
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/88/38001

Deformed Zipf's law in personal donation

Q. Chen, C. Wang and Y. Wang

Department of Systems Science, School of Management, Beijing Normal University - Beijing 100875, PRC

received 30 September 2009; accepted in final form 21 October 2009; published November 2009
published online 4 November 2009

The power law or Zipf's law phenomena in human behaviors have been widely observed and attracted intensive attention. In this letter, a new evidence on personal donation is presented and analyzed. A sample of donation to the victims of Sichuan earthquake in 2008 demonstrates that donation distribution has a particular pattern. The upper part is governed by Zipf's law and the lower part exhibits a uniform distribution. We propose a theoretical model in which people's wealth distribution follows a power law, they are willing to donate a random part of their wealth and have preferences on some specific numbers. This model provides us not only a reasonable explanation on the empirical donation pattern but also an effective method to get access to large-scale personal-wealth distributions.

89.65.-s - Social and economic systems.
89.75.Da - Social obeying scaling laws.
89.65.Gh - Economics; econophysics, financial markets, business and management.

© EPLA 2009