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Reward structures and the allocation of talent

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  • Acemoglu, Daron

Abstract

As relative rewards that different professions receive are a key factor in the allocation of talent, what determines the reward structure of a society is an important question. In order to deal with this question, this paper develops an equilibrium model of the allocation of talent between productive and unproductive activities (such as rent-seeking). The existence of rent-seeking creates a negative externality on productive agents and implies that relative rewards are partly endogenous. The same externality can also lead to multiple equilibria, each with different relative rewards. When we consider a dynamic setting, current rewards are seen to be influenced by past allocations as well as expectations of future allocations and the society may get trapped in "rent-seeking" steady state equilibrium. The paper also discusses how the non-pecuniary reward structure can be influenced by equilibrium selection and suggest some historical examples which indicate the presence of a causal link from the allocation of talent to pecuniary and non-pecuniary rewards.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 39 (1995)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 17-33

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:39:y:1995:i:1:p:17-33

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  1. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
  3. Tirole, J., 1993. "A Theory of Collective Reputations with Applications to the Persistence of Corruption and to Firm Quality," Working papers 93-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implicationsfor Growth," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 65, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  5. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Economics Series Working Papers 99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
  7. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
  8. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  9. Baumol, William J, 1990. "Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive, and Destructive," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 893-921, October.
  10. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
  11. Landes, David S., 1949. "French Entrepreneurship and Industrial Growth in the Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 45-61, May.
  12. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
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