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June 24, 2006

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Tim Worstall

"what other workers have zero marginal product?"

Politicians! Bureaucrats!

No, that won’t work, they’ve got negative marginal product, don’t they?

Sam

Since all 10 remaining players must be working harder, this must mean that when 11 players are on the pitch players don't try as hard as they possibly could. So players are being paid £20,000 a week and still only perform to 70 or 80% of their ability.
What more incentives to footballers need? Competition, fame and fortune clearly aren't enough.

dearieme

Offer them sherbet, Sam. They wouldn't sniff at it.

rjw

A zero marginal product ? Well... think of an industry where the average activity of someone is to try to win zero sum games.

Finance comes to mind. Very useful to have a finance industry, but does an additional foreign exchange trader at the margin add any value given that trades are zero sum?

Also, any cirucumstances where the nature of competition is positional (winner takes all markets) tend to take a big toll on marginal products.

But of course, in such cases there is a difference between the marginal product to the employing firm, and the social value of the work performed. And once you open that box...


Tamatha Wainwright

Sending off is compensated by the profits you can make investing in this great new product.

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