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CEP discussion paper
Superstars and Renaissance Men: Specialization, Market Size and the Income Distribution
Richard Walker
November 2005
Paper No' CEPDP0707:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: O11; E23; E25

Tags: specialization; aggregate demand; inequality; market size

A general equilibrium model of individual specialization is presented in which agents trade off the productivity and price implications of producing a narrower range of goods. Agents with highly specific skills turn out to benefit most from large markets. The model is able to replicate features of the long-term evolution of the US income distribution, with specialization-biased technical change and the increase in employed population playing key roles. Among the results is that, at least along one dimension of ability, the skill premium is increasing in the relative supply of skills.