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I just stumbled, by pure accident, on this: $$ \gcd \left(\frac{(m+1)^n-1}{m},m\right)=\gcd \left(\frac{(n+1)^m-1}{n},n\right) $$ It probably has a straightforward proof but more than a proof I want a conceptual background for it. Is it related to any known reciprocity laws or something?

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    $\begingroup$ No. The first number simply equals $\gcd (n,m)$ and the second is $\gcd (m,n)$. To show this, use just one step of the Euclidean algorithm for the $\gcd$. $\endgroup$ – Crostul May 3 '17 at 5:51
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Note that $$(m+1)^n=1+nm+\frac{n(n-1)}2m^2+\ldots $$ where everything hidden in the dots is also a multiple of $m^2$. Hence $\frac{(m+1)^n-1}{m}$ is just $n$ plus a multiple o $m$, which can be ignored when taking the $\gcd$ with $m$. In other words, the left hand side is just$\gcd(n,m)$ (and the right hand side $\gcd(m,n)$).

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  • $\begingroup$ Great, thanks. Except that you should share credit with @Crostul who noticed this (without proof, but...) slightly earlier in a comment above. $\endgroup$ – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე May 3 '17 at 5:56

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