There are many reasons as to why nurses earn less than rock stars. The first, most important one, is to recognise that we are comparing these two respective salaries on a statistical basis, most likely average such as a mean, or median wage. We must take into account the range of salaries, to see how much the data we are comparing is skewed. A nurses salary cannot really vary much, as rates in hospitals (in the same area) will be similar, only varying slightly for higher positions within the nursing profession. This is in complete contrast to what rock stars can earn – some can earn just $10 an hour, despite enjoying tremendous popularity. Others, however, can earn millions and billions, and therefore, this will mean that the results for pop stars’ wages will be skewed, given the wide range of salaries.
Wages are set very much like price is – by market equilibrium. Looking at the labour market, we can see that, once immensely popular, demand for an artist becomes very inelastic – people will buy his merchandise even if the price increases quite a lot. Supply for nurses, on the other hand, may be elastic, as there are plenty of individuals who are willing to try and seek employment in that field, assuming that the skills required aren’t very hard to come by (to enter the profession). On the other hand, it can be argued that supply for artists is inelastic, due to the relatively small numbers of people in the industry. This argument can easily be refuted by pointing out the hordes of riff-raff and other emotional junkies who pander towards an illustrious career of fame and fortune, and attempt to become rock-stars.
However, if they are not famous or are deemed lacking of the talent needed to earn that label, they will most likely not be counted as a “rock star” and they will find it hard to enter the music industry and therefore their efforts will be in vain, and they will be discounted by those seeking to make their fortune by accumulating and manipulating market trends. Thus, we can see that demand and supply is inelastic for rock stars, while elastic for nurses. If you draw a demand and supply diagram, who will be able to see that the rock stars’ wages will be determined by a higher market equilibrium than their hospital-working (female) counterparts.
Immobility of labour is another thing which contribute towards the supply of the respective professions. Being a rock star is unlikely to be one of the first or main jobs an individual will undertake in his life. Thus, stars will probably have other vocational skills ready to be of use if they suffer an untimely demise at the hands of fickle fans. This will encourage people to try and become rock-stars as they will be able to find another job later or before they strike success. Nurses, on the other hand, have less of a reason to be as occupationally mobile, as their career is more likely to be a steady, longer one, quite predictable in nature. This would mean that nurses would have to aim to try and stay in that profession for a long period of time, which may actually discourage some people from becoming nurses. However, the mobility of labour seems o have little impact in actuality as it seems that this would make supply of labour more inelastic and elastic for nurses and pop stars respectively. Geographical mobility of labour also seems to have little bearing on the supply of labour.
Lastly, there are many benefits to be gained from each profession. Rock stars have the opportunity to make millions very quickly, become famous, recognised and more influential. Nurses’ benefits lie more in the vicinity of pension payments, and possibly the knowledge that you are helping the community. These seem to be the main reasons as to why nurses get paid less than pop-stars.
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