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What is the Kodaira dimension of symmetric products of curves? That is, given a projective smooth, connected complex curve $C$, what is the Kodaira dimension of $C^{(d)}=C^d/\mathfrak S_d$?

When $d> g$, the genus of $C$, then $C^{(d)}$ is a bundle in projective spaces over the Jacobian of $C$, hence all pluriforms on $C^{(d)}$ vanish on the fibers of this fibration and $\kappa(C^{(d)})=0$ in this case.

Is something known for $2\leq g\leq g-1$? (This question is prompted by this other post.) I suspect that the answer will strongly depend on fine properties of the curve $X$ (gonality, Brill-Noether properties) and there might not be a general and neat answer.

Perhaps surprisingly, the analogous question in higher dimensions is quite different since if $X$ is a projective smooth connected variety of dimension $>1$, the Kodaira dimension of (any desingularization) of $X^{(d)}$ is equal to $d \kappa(X)$, where $\kappa(X)$ is the Kodaira dimension of $X$ (D. Arapura, S. Archava, Kodaira dimension of symmetric powers, Proc. AMS, 2003).

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If the Jacobian of the curve is simple, then all its proper subvarieties are of general type; in particular the symmetric product of the curve is of general type, until the Abel-Jacobi map is surjective. By deformation, I would guess that the same is true for all curves, not just the ones that have simple Jacobian. – M P Mar 8 '13 at 7:58

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

Let $C$ be a smooth projective connected complex curve of genus $\geq 2$. Let me show that $C^{(d)}$ is of general type if $1\leq d\leq g-1$.

Equivalently, one needs to show that the image $W_d$ of $C^{(d)}$ in the jacobian $J(C)$ is of general type, because $C^{(d)}\to W_d$ is birational. If $W_d$ were not of general type, then, by [Ueno, Classification of algebraic varieties I, Theorem 3.10], there would be a non-trivial abelian variety $A\subset J(C)$ such that $W_d$ is stable by translation by $A$ (this is the argument in MP's comment above). But then, $W_{g-1}$ would also be stable by translation by $A$. Now choose a point $x$ outside of $W_{g-1}$ and consider the orbit $A.x$ : it is a positive-dimensional variety avoiding $W_{g-1}$. This is a contradiction because $W_{g-1}$ is an ample divisor: the theta divisor.

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Thanks a lot, Olivier! (I should have known that...) – ACL Mar 8 '13 at 13:59

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