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The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge

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  • Becker, G.S.
  • Murphy, K.M.

Abstract

This paper considers specialization and the division of labor. A more extensive division of labor raises productivity because returns to the time spent on tasks are usually greater to workers who concentrate on a narrower range of skills. The traditional discussion of the division of labor emphasizes the limitations to specialization imposed by the extent of the market. We claim that the degree of specialization is more often determined by other considerations. Especially emphasized are various costs of "coordinating" specialized workers who perform complementary tasks, and the amount of general knowledge available.
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Suggested Citation

  • Becker, G.S. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-5, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:chicer:92-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Working Papers 645, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    7. repec:fth:prinin:265 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. George J. Stigler, 1951. "The Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59, pages 185-185.
    9. Lancaster, Kelvin, 1975. "Socially Optimal Product Differentiation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(4), pages 567-585, September.
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    Keywords

    labour market ; division of labour;

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