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The Changing Distribution of Earnings in OECD Countries$
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A.B. Atkinson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532438

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532438.001.0001

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Superstars and Pyramids

Superstars and Pyramids

(p.93) Note 3 Superstars and Pyramids
The Changing Distribution of Earnings in OECD Countries

A. B. Atkinson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This note describes the model of top earnings presented in Chapter 9. The model is a combination of superstar and hierarchical explanations. In the case of the superstar theory, there is no direct link to a functional form for the resulting distribution. At the same time, the ‘winner take all’ nature of the model suggests that it can be regarded as an extreme value process. The distribution of earnings in this case is given by the maximum values generated by the results of many separate ‘competitions’. If attention is limited to those values exceeding some specified threshold, then for a sufficiently high threshold the distribution function takes on the generalized Pareto form which has a Pareto upper tail.

Keywords:   superstar theory, model, Pareto, top earnings

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