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The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth

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  • Murphy, Kevin M.
  • Shleifer, Andrei
  • Vishny, Robert W.

Abstract

A country's most talented people typically organize production by others, so they can spread their ability advantage over a larger scale. When they start firms, they innovate and foster growth, but when they become rent seekers, they only redistribute wealth and reduce growth. Occupational choice depends on returns to ability and to scale in each sector, on market size, and on compensation contracts. In most countries, rent seeking rewards talent more than entrepreneurship does, leading to stagnation. Our evidence shows that countries with a higher proportion of engineering college majors grow faster; whereas countries with a higher proportion of law concentrators grow slower.

Suggested Citation

  • Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1991. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," Scholarly Articles 27692664, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:27692664
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1986. "Large Shareholders and Corporate Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 461-488, June.
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    3. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
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    6. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
    7. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
    8. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
    9. Kuhn, Peter, 1988. "Unions in a General Equilibrium Model of Firm Formation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 62-82, January.
    10. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1986. "Greenmail, White Knights, and Shareholders' Interest," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 293-309, Autumn.
    11. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-858, December.
    12. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1988. "A New Set of International Comparisons of Real Product and Price Levels Estimates for 130 Countries, 1950-1985," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
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