Knowledge hierarchies in the labor market

Gilles Saint-Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many workers produce intangible, knowledge-intensive inputs, rather than participating directly in the production process. We develop a model where the labor market organizes itself in a knowledge hierarchy. Skills are segmented into successive clusters. Each cluster buys knowledge from the next one and sells knowledge as a production input to the preceding one. The model is useful to study the impact of improvements in the technology of knowledge transmission on inequality. It is shown that inequality goes up at the top of the income distribution, but not at the bottom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-126
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Economic Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Computers
  • Human capital
  • Income distribution
  • Information technology
  • Knowledge
  • Overlapping generations
  • Worker assignment
  • Worker displacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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