New Research Does Not Provide Any Reason to Doubt that CEO Pay Fueled Top 1% Income Growth: A new paper, Firming up Inequality, has been receiving substantial attention in the media for its claim that wage inequality is not occurring within firms but only occurs between firms. The authors claim that their results disprove the claim made by me and others, such as Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, that the growth of top 1 percent incomes was driven by the pay of executives and those in the financial sector. Though the authors present valuable new data, which offers the possibility of great insights, their current analysis does not disprove that executive pay has fueled top 1 percent income growth. In fact, the study neither examines nor rebuts claims about executive pay.
The authors also offer a “we live in the best possible world” interpretation of their findings—inequality is due to high productivity growth of “superfirms.” This is pure speculation and is completely disconnected from their actual empirical work. A similar study examined productivity trends and contradicts their narrative about superfirms.
Last, there are reasons to be skeptical of their findings because they imply huge wage disparities have opened up between median workers across firms within an industry that are implausible. ...
He goes in to explain in detail.