# Proof that the largest eigenvalue of a stochastic matrix is 11

The largest eigenvalue of a stochastic matrix (i.e. a matrix whose entries are positive and whose rows add up to $1$) is $1$.

Wikipedia marks this as a special case of the Perron-Frobenius theorem, but I wonder if there is a simpler (more direct) way to demonstrate this result.

Here’s a really elementary proof (which is a slight modification of Fanfan’s answer to a question of mine). As Calle shows, it is easy to see that the eigenvalue $1$ is obtained. Now, suppose $Ax = \lambda x$ for some $\lambda > 1$. Since the rows of $A$ are nonnegative and sum to $1$, each element of vector $Ax$ is a convex combination of the components of $x$, which can be no greater than $x_{max}$, the largest component of $x$. On the other hand, at least one element of $\lambda x$ is greater than $x_{max}$, which proves that $\lambda > 1$ is impossible.