The Economics of Has-Beens

34 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2001 Last revised: 24 Oct 2010

See all articles by Glenn MacDonald

Glenn MacDonald

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School

Michael S. Weisbach

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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Date Written: September 2001

Abstract

Evolution of technology causes human capital to become obsolete. We study this phenomenon in an overlapping generations setting, assuming it is hard to predict how technology will evolve, and that older workers find updating uneconomic. Among our results is the proposition that (under certain conditions) a more rapid pace of technological advance is especially unfavorable to the old in the sense that the implied within-industry division of output or income between young and old becomes much more skewed, i.e., a smaller number of young earn comparatively more. We apply our results to architecture, an occupation in which the has-beens phenomenon has had a particularly acute impact.

Suggested Citation

MacDonald, Glenn M. and Weisbach, Michael S., The Economics of Has-Beens (September 2001). NBER Working Paper No. w8464. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=282690

Glenn M. MacDonald (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

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Michael S. Weisbach

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

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