On the matthew effect on individual investments in skills in arts, sports and science

Yegorov, Y., Wirl, F., Grass, D., Eigruber, M., & Feichtinger, G. (2022). On the matthew effect on individual investments in skills in arts, sports and science. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 196 178-199. 10.1016/j.jebo.2022.02.008.

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This paper describes the process of capital accumulation subject to the following characteristics: (i) convex returns to (human) capital and (ii) the need to self-finance investments. Our setup is applicable to some peculiarities in the arts, sports and science, inter alia, coined the Matthew effect in Merton (1968) and explains, e.g., why prominent researchers get disproportional credit for their work. The potential young artist’s (athlete’s or scientist’s) optimal strategies include quitting, or continuing and even expanding one’s human capital in the respective profession. Both outcomes are separated by a threshold level in human capital. In addition, we find that it can be optimal to stay in business although consumption falls and stays at the subsistence level forever (we call this outcome a Sisyphus point). This possibility is also interesting from a theoretical point-of-view, as the optimal control problem may turn abnormal, i.e., the objective does not enter the Hamiltonian.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human capital accumulation; Abnormal control problem; Convex returns; Threshold; Matthew effect; Sisyphus point
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems (EM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2022 15:45
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2022 15:45
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/17896

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