IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/restud/v76y2009i2p829-850.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Superstars and Mediocrities: Market Failure in the Discovery of Talent -super-1

Author

Listed:
  • Marko Terviö

Abstract

A basic problem facing most labour markets is that workers can neither commit to long-term wage contracts nor can they self-finance the costs of production. I study the effects of these imperfections when talent is industry-specific; it can only be revealed on the job, and once learnt becomes public information. I show that firms bid excessively for the pool of incumbent workers at the expense of trying out new talent. The workforce is then plagued with an unfavourable selection of individuals: there are too many mediocre workers, whose talent is not high enough to justify them crowding out novice workers with lower expected talent but with more upside potential. The result is an inefficiently low level of output coupled with higher wages for known high talents. This problem is most severe where information about talent is initially very imprecise and the complementary costs of production are high. I argue that high incomes in professions such as entertainment, management, and entrepreneurship, may be explained by the nature of the talent revelation process, rather than by an underlying scarcity of talent. Copyright , Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested Citation

  • Marko Terviö, 2009. "Superstars and Mediocrities: Market Failure in the Discovery of Talent -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 829-850.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:2:p:829-850
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2008.00522.x
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2015. "Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of US Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(S1), pages 147-186.
    2. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2015. "Firms and the Economics of Skilled Immigration," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 115-152.
    3. Rachel Scarfe & Carl Singleton & Paul Telemo, 2021. "Extreme Wages, Performance, and Superstars in a Market for Footballers," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 84-118, January.
    4. Inés Macho-Stadler & David Pérez-Castrillo & Nicolás Porteiro, 2011. "Optimal Coexistence of Long-term and Short-term contracts in Labor Markets," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 872.11, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    5. Piolatto, Amedeo & Schuett, Florian, 2012. "Music piracy: A case of “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer”," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 30-39.
    6. Peter A. Groothuis & Kurt W. Rotthoff & Mark C. Strazicich, 2013. "Evaluation of Talent in a Changing World: The Case of Major League Baseball," Working Papers 13-15, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    7. Conley, John P. & Onder, Ali Sina & Torgler, Benno, 2012. "Are all High-Skilled Cohorts Created Equal? Unemployment, Gender, and Research Productivity," Economy and Society 142954, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    8. Alcalá, Francisco & González-Maestre, Miguel, 2010. "Copying, superstars, and artistic creation," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 365-378, December.
    9. Massa, Massimo & Reuter, Jonathan & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2010. "When should firms share credit with employees? Evidence from anonymously managed mutual funds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 400-424, March.
    10. Joel Waldfogel, 2015. "Digitization and the Quality of New Media Products: The Case of Music," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy, pages 407-442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:2:p:829-850. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Oxford University Press or Christopher F. Baum (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.