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The Changing Distribution of Earnings in OECD Countries$
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A.B. Atkinson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532438

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532438.001.0001

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Superstars and Pyramids: Two Complementary Explanations for Changes in Top Earnings

Superstars and Pyramids: Two Complementary Explanations for Changes in Top Earnings

Chapter:
(p.76) 9 Superstars and Pyramids: Two Complementary Explanations for Changes in Top Earnings
Source:
The Changing Distribution of Earnings in OECD Countries
Author(s):

A. B. Atkinson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532438.003.0010

This chapter considers the explanation of top earnings that has received much recent attention: the superstar theory. Here, trade and technology have a clear role in expanding the reach of the most talented, and make the earnings gradient steeper. It argues that the superstar explanation should be complemented by a model of salaries in hierarchical organizations. Such a theory, where earnings depend on position in a pyramidal organization, cannot be enough on its own either.

Keywords:   earnings distribution, earnings dispersion, superstar theory, trade and technology

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