Rising executive pay
Executive pay began to grow around the same time as income equality in the U.S. and has increased about fourfold since 1970, while average wages for all workers have remained relatively flat. Defenders of executive pay levels say the higher salaries are justified as the size and profits of companies grow.
|Total Change Since 1970|
*Based on the salary, bonuses and stock options of the three highest-paid officers in the largest 50 firms. ** Calculated from Bureau of Economic Analysis data. NOTE: All figures have been adjusted for inflation.
SOURCES: The World Top Incomes Database and reports by Jon Bakija, Williams College; Adam Cole, U.S. Department of Treasury; Bradley T. Heim, Indiana University; Carola Frydman, MIT Sloan School of Management and NBER; Raven E. Molloy, Federal Reserve Board of Governors; Thomas Piketty, Ehess, Paris; Emmanuel Saez, UC Berkeley and NBER. GRAPHIC: Alicia Parlapiano - The Washington Post. Published June 18, 2011.