414PART SIXTHE ECONOMICS OF LABOR MARKETSThe demand, in turn, depends on that particular factor’s marginal productivity. Inequilibrium, each factor of production earns the value of its marginal contributionto the production of goods and services.The neoclassical theory of distribution is widely accepted. Most economistsbegin with the neoclassical theory when trying to explain how the U.S. economy’s$8 trillion of income is distributed among the economy’s various members. In thefollowing two chapters, we consider the distribution of income in more detail. Asyou will see, the neoclassical theory provides the framework for this discussion.Even at this point you can use the theory to answer the question that beganthis chapter: Why are computer programmers paid more than gas station atten-dants? It is because programmers can produce a good of greater market value thancan a gas station attendant. People are willing to pay dearly for a good computer
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