A majority of those interviewed disagreed with the statement that the government should reduce income differences. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
Another hedge fund manager, who told the researcher he would really like a private jet but cant afford one, said it would be better for the country if he got richer because he pays a lot in tax.
However, one City of London worker included in the study said she found it hard to reconcile how much she was paid compared with teachers, firefighters, nurses and doctors, who clearly do something thats much more important. She said her salary could cover the annual pay of seven teachers: Why do these people get paid so little, and people like me get paid so much? Is it right? I certainly dont think Im worth 140,000; thats the truth.
The LSE study found that a majority of the participants believed market-determined incomes were a fair reflection of talent and economic contribution. Of these participants, two-thirds disagreed with the survey statement that the government should reduce income differences.
But a significant minority (a third of the studys participants) questioned the view that market-determined incomes are necessarily fair, and 80% of this group agreed with the statement that income differences should be reduced.
In the report, Hecht suggests rich peoples experiences of relative disadvantage might drive economic inequality at the top, because those at the very top of the economic hierarchy are [viewed] as being the best. Inequality may ultimately be reproduced because [the idea that market incomes reflect someones talent and contribution] turns experiences of relative disadvantage into a driver to do better.
Chief executives of FTSE-100 companies now earn, on average, 386 times more than workers on the national living wage, according to an analysis published by the Equality Trust, which is campaigning for new government rules to expose pay gaps.
The charity used annual reports to calculate that chief executives of FTSE-100 companies pocket an average of 5.3m each year, compared with 13,662 for someone on the national living wage of 7.20 an hour.
However, the pay of chief executives is likely to be eclipsed by those working in hedge funds, private equity and the partners of accountancy and law firms. As private companies or partnerships, they are not required to publish data on earnings.
The worlds top 25 hedge fund managers earned $13bn in 2015 (the latest year available) more than the entire economies of Namibia, the Bahamas or Nicaragua. Sir Chris Hohn, the billionaire founder of a hedge fund, the Childrens Investment Fund, was the highest-earning British fund manager, taking home $300m, according to research by Institutional Investors Alpha magazine.
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