Wages, Bonuses and Appropriation of Profit in the Financial Industry

The working rich
Olivier Godechot
  • O. Godechot (2016)O. Godechot (2016)

Figure 1.4 - The contribution of different sectors to the rise in inequality in FranceWages, Bonuses and Appropriation of Profit in the Financial Industry

The 2008 financial crisis led the whole world to ask questions of the financial industry. Why are wages in the financial industry so high? Are bonuses responsible for the financial crisis? Where do bonuses come from? Politicians and others urged people to believe that the crisis was the price of Wall Street’s greed and blamed the ‘bonus culture’ prevalent in the financial industry. However, despite widespread condemnation and the threat of tighter regulation, bonuses in the industry have proven remarkably resilient.

 Olivier GodechotThis book provides an in-depth inquiry into the bonus system. Drawing on examples from France, the City and Wall Street, it explains how and why workers in the financial industry can receive such large bonuses. We examine issues around incentives, morality and wealth-sharing among employees, including the rise of "the working rich" - those who have benefited the most from the high wages and large bonuses on offer to some employees. These people have achieved wealth through their work thanks to new forms of exploitation in our ever-more dematerialised economy. This book shows how the most mobile employees holding the most mobile assets can exploit the most immobile stakeholders. In a world where inequalities are rising sharply, this book is therefore an important study of one of the key contemporary issues.

Table of contents

Introduction: Finance as a Working Rich Observatory

 Bonus Practices
The Size of Bonuses
The Distribution of Bonuses

 Property Rights and Power
Property Rights in the Firm
The Sense of Ownership of Profit
Assets and Power

 Hold-Up and Labour Market
A Hold-Up Case
Towards a Model of Hold-Up
The Labour Market as Asset Transfer
What Do Heads of Trading Rooms Do?

Conclusion: Value Creation for Wage Earners?

Routledge International Studies in Money and Banking - 258 p. - ISBN 978-1138123960.