CEOs were paid, on average, 231 times more than workers in 2011, a new EPI analysis shows. This CEO-to-worker compensation ratio includes the value of stock options exercised by executives. An alternative measure of CEO compensation that includes the value of stock options granted in a given year yields a CEO-to-worker compensation ratio of 209.4-to-1. By comparison, the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio was roughly 20-to-1 in 1965.
In CEO pay and the top 1%: How executive compensation and financial-sector pay have fueled income inequality, EPI President Lawrence Mishel and research assistant Natalie Sabadish find that CEO compensation has grown exponentially in recent decades, while worker compensation has been relatively stagnant: from 1978 to 2011, CEO compensation increased more than 725 percent, compared to an increase in compensation for workers of only 5.7 percent.
CEOs’ growing compensation, along with compensation for highly-paid workers in the financial sector, has been the primary driver of the more than doubling of the income share of the top 1 percent over the past three decades. Executives and workers in finance accounted for 58 percent of the expansion of income for the top 1 percent from 1979 to 2005. They accounted for 67 percent of the increase in income for the top 0.1 percent over the same time period.
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