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%.



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



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:


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