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Ceo pay in 2012 was extraordinarily high


The 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s were prosperous times for top U.S. executives, especially relative to other wage earners and even relative to other very high wage earners (those earning more than 99.9 percent of all wage earners). Executives constitute a larger group of workers than is commonly recognized, and the extraordinary pay increases received by chief executive officers of large firms had spillover effects in pulling up the pay of other executives and managers.1 Consequently, the growth of CEO and executive compensation overall was a major factor driving the doubling of the income shares of the top 1.0 percent and top 0.1 percent of households from 1979 to 2007 (Bivens and Mishel 2013). Income growth since 2007 has been very unbalanced as profits have reached record highs and, correspondingly, the stock market has boomed while the wages of most workers (and their families’ incomes) have declined over the recovery (Mishel et al. 2012, Mishel 2013). It is useful to track CEO compensation to assess how well this group is doing in the recovery, especially since this is an early indication of how well other top earners and high-income households are faring through 2012. This paper presents CEO compensation trends through 2012 and finds:

Trends in CEO compensation last year:

  • Average CEO compensation was $14.1 million in 2012, using a measure of CEO pay that covers CEOs of the top 350 firms and includes the value of stock options exercised in a given year (“options realized”), up 12.7 percent since 2011 and 37.4 percent since 2009. This is our preferred measure.
  • Average CEO compensation using a measure that covers CEOs of the top 350 firms and includes the value of stock options granted to an executive (“options granted”) was $10.7 million in 2012, 7.1 percent lower than in 2011 though still 9.1 percent greater than in 2009. Firms apparently pared back the value of new options granted because CEOs fared so well by cashing in options as stock prices grew.

Longer-term trends in CEO compensation:

  • From 1978 to 2012, CEO compensation measured with options realized increased about 875 percent, a rise more than double stock market growth and substantially greater than the painfully slow 5.4 percent growth in a typical worker’s compensation over the same period.
  • Using the same measure of options-realized CEO pay, the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio was 20.1-to-1 in 1965 and 29.0-to-1 in 1978, grew to 122.6-to-1 in 1995, peaked at 383.4-to-1 in 2000, and was 272.9-to-1 in 2012, far higher than it was in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s.
  • Measured with options granted, CEOs earned 18.3 times more than typical workers in 1965 and 26.5 times more in 1978; the ratio grew to 136.8-to-1 in 1995 and peaked at 411.3-to-1 in 2000. In 2012, CEO pay was 202.3 times more than typical worker pay, far higher than it was in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s.

CEO compensation relative to other high earners:

  • Over the last three decades, CEO compensation grew far faster than that of other highly paid workers, those earning more than 99.9 percent of other wage earners. CEO compensation in 2010 was 4.70 times greater than that of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners, a ratio 1.62 higher (a wage gain roughly equivalent to that of 1.6 high wage earners) than the 3.08 ratio that prevailed over the 1947–1979 period.
  • Also over the last three decades, CEO compensation increased further relative to other very high wage earners than the wages of college graduates grew relative to those of high school graduates.
  • These findings show that CEO compensation growth reflects not just the increased market value of highly paid professionals in a competitive market for skills (the “market for talent”) but the presence of substantial rents embedded in executive pay. Consequently, if CEOs earned less or were taxed more there would be no adverse impact on output or employment.

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Tratto da www.epi.org