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date: 17 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Creativity has the flavour of a scarce ability much sought-after : people well endowed with it come to be rewarded with earnings and prestige disproportionately higher than what the presumable underlying distribution of skills and abilities would command among the work-force concerned. Yet, the main determinants of creativity are somewhat obscure. The most commonly notion in use is talent, that has become a buzzword everywhere value creation is at stake. If talent were readily definable or observable there would be no uncertainty about success. Since the wellsprings of inventiveness and originality cannot possibly be fully specified, the creative worlds take advantage of an excess supply of workers and works to proceed by ceaseless comparisons and tournaments that not only rank ordinally producers and products, but come to magnify interindividual differences essentially impossible to calibrate from the outset. As a result, inequalities in reputation and earnings attain extreme levels. After reviewing different models that allow for analyzing the Paretian distribution of income and reputation, this article tries to solve the talent puzzle by developing a four-component explanation of inequality in creative labor markets.

Keywords: Creative labour, cumulative advantage, inequality, matching, talent, uncertainty

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