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Extreme Wage Inequality: Pay at the Very Top

Author

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  • Brian Bell
  • John Van Reenen

Abstract

We provide new evidence on the growth in pay at the very top of the wage distribution in the UK. Sectoral decompositions show that workers in the financial sector have accounted for the majority of the gains at the top over the last decade. New results are also presented on the pay of CEOs in the UK. We show how improved measurement of pay points to a stronger pay-performance link than previously estimated. This link is stronger, and more symmetric, for those firms in which institutional investors play a larger role.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Bell & John Van Reenen, 2013. "Extreme Wage Inequality: Pay at the Very Top," CEP Occasional Papers 34, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepops:34
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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/occasional/op034.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steven N. Kaplan & Joshua Rauh, 2010. "Wall Street and Main Street: What Contributes to the Rise in the Highest Incomes?," NBER Chapters,in: Corporate Governance National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Colin P. Green & John S. Heywood, 2016. "Don't Forget the Gravy! Are Bonuses Just Added on Top of Salaries?," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 490-513, July.
    2. Quintana-Domeque, Climent & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2016. "“Relative concerns for consumption at the top”: An intertemporal analysis for the UK," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 172-194.
    3. SOLOGON Denisa & VAN KERM Philippe, 2014. "Earnings dynamics, foreign workers and the stability of inequality trends in Luxembourg 1988-2009," LISER Working Paper Series 2014-03, LISER.
    4. Pierre Chaigneau & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2014. "Explaining the Association between Monitoring and Controversial CEO Pay Practices: an Optimal Contracting Perspective," Cahiers de recherche 1406, CIRPEE.
    5. Marco Pagano & ESRB Advisory Scientific Committee, 2014. "Is Europe Overbanked?," mBank - CASE Seminar Proceedings 132, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
    6. Keng, Shao-Hsun & Orazem, Peter F., 2017. "Performance Pay, the Marriage Market and Rising Income Inequality in Taiwan," ISU General Staff Papers 201702050800001023, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    7. repec:bla:econom:v:84:y:2017:i:334:p:157-179 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Chris Belfield & Richard Blundell & Jonathan Cribb & Andrew Hood & Robert Joyce, 2017. "Two Decades of Income Inequality in Britain: The Role of Wages, Household Earnings and Redistribution," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 84(334), pages 157-179, April.
    9. Anwar, Sajid & Sun, Sizhong, 2015. "Taxation of labour income and the skilled–unskilled wage inequality," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 18-22.
    10. Kneer, E.C., 2013. "Essays on the size of the financial aector, financial liberalization and growth," Other publications TiSEM e0f0b672-ce74-40a3-8222-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    11. Chaigneau, Pierre & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2013. "The effect of monitoring on CEO pay practices in a matching equilibrium," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 55405, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Olivier Godechot, 2015. "Financialization Is Marketization! : A Study on the Respective Impact of Various Dimensions of Financialization on the Increase in Global Inequality," Sciences Po publications 15/3, Sciences Po.
    13. Böhm, Michael & Metzger, Daniel & Strömberg, Per, 2015. "Since you’re so rich, you must be really smart”: Talent and the Finance Wage Premium," Working Paper Series 313, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    14. Godechot, Olivier, 2015. "Financialization is marketization! A study on the respective impact of various dimensions of financialization on the increase in global inequality," MaxPo Discussion Paper Series 15/3, Max Planck Sciences Po Center on Coping with Instability in Market Societies (MaxPo).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage inequality; firm performance; CEO compensation; performance pay; management;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation

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