Top  2% of state employees see faster rise in income than bottom 98% since the Great Recession

By: Igor Lukashevich

In 2014, the world was abuzz with talk of Thomas Piketty’s treatise on global economic inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The rising global disparity of income, the author argued, will inevitably result in social and economic instability across the world. It is interesting to note that income inequality also exists, and has grown widely, within the very institution that Piketty has tasked with fixing it: government. An analysis of the total compensation received by 147,458 Florida state employees reveals the income gap between the top earners and everyone else, and how it has changed since 2008.

Since the Great Recession, employees making over $100,000 in total compensation have accounted for approximately 10% of all earners within Florida government. On average, this group has seen their incomes rise only slightly faster than other state employees. They have added approximately $600 more to their annual compensation than have the bottom 90%.  

However, increasing inequality is much more pronounced for employees making over $175,000. Comprising only 2% of all earners within the Florida government, these workers have averaged approximately $11,000 more in increased compensation during the past seven years than have those below them on the income ladder. As can be gathered from the table below, the bottom 98% of Florida government employees have experienced a modest 2% rise in income, while the top have seen their earnings increase by as much as 6.5%.

12650368_1074823842561974_335016493_n

 

What government agencies have seen the most increase in income? Figure 1 shows the distribution of the top 2% of public employees by department.

 

12650760_1074823839228641_577624695_n

An overwhelming majority (75%) of these high-earning employees work in the Office of the State Courts Administrator, with another 8% in the Justice Administrative Commission and 5% in the Health Department. Professionals in the judicial branch have consistently dominated the income ladder, making up over 80% of top earners in Florida government since the 1990s.

It seems income inequality exists in both the public and private sectors. Although the recent growth in the earnings gap has not been as severe in the public sector as in the country overall, it is nevertheless significant and worth examining.

 

All data can be found at:

Florida Open Gov:http://floridaopengov.org/

 

About DeVoe Moore Center

The DeVoe L. Moore Center is conducts economic research and policy analysis focused on state and local policy issues and is located in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University in Tallahassee. As an educational institution the DMC provides professional research experience to undergraduate and master’s students through an extensive program of internships and independent study, preparing them for a future in public policy, economic development, public sector accountability and entrepreneurship.
This entry was posted in DeVoe Moore Center, income inequality, Labor Economics, Politics, Tax Policy, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s