During the last two decades, the top one percent of U.S. earners captured more than 40 percent of the country’s total earnings growth, one of the largest shifts any society has endured without a revolution or military defeat. Robert H. Frank and Philip J. Cook argue that behind this shift lies the spread of “winner-take-all markets”—markets in which small differences in performance give rise to enormous differences in reward. Long familiar in sports and entertainment, this payoff pattern has increasingly permeated law, finance, fashion, publishing, and other fields. The result: in addition to the growing gap between rich and poor, we see important professions like teaching and engineering in aching need of more talent. This relentless emphasis on coming out on top—the best-selling book, the blockbuster film, the Super Bowl winner—has molded our discourse in ways that many find deeply troubling.
—The New York Times Book Review.
“Should be at the forefront of everyone’s attention”
—Lester C. Thurow, Los Angeles Times
“Frank and Cook break new ground by linking the win-at-all costs mentality to economic and cultural problems.”
“A fun, informative, and provocative read”
—The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
1. Winner-Take-All Marekts
2. How Winner-Take-All Markets Arise
3. The Growth of Winner-Take-All Markets
4. Runaway Incomes at the Top
5. Minor-League Superstars
6. Too Many Contestants?
7. The Problem of Wasteful Investment
8. The Battle for Educational Prestige
9. Curbing Wasteful Competition
10. Media and Culture in the Winner-Take-All Society
11. Old Wine in New Bottles