Everyone Thinks They Work Harder than Their Boss

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2008-03-03 Print this article Print

If you think you work harder than your boss, you're in the vast majority, and according to some economic theory you're probably right.

According to a new poll from Monster.com, 77 percent of U.S. workers feel they toil longer and harder than those who sign their paychecks. Though Monster itself admits that their polling process isn't the most scientific, the sentiment is sure to ring true with working stiffs.

"Nowadays, with the ratio of CEO pay to the average worker exploding, feelings of disenfranchisement from not being compensated fairly are much more likely," said Steven Blader, assistant professor of management and organization's at New York University's Stern School of Business, told Reuters.

Head honchos who opt for $1 salaries are doing little to help due to what economists call "tournament theory," which states that rewards should not be scaled to the amount of work put in, but should be large enough to inspire everyone else.

The tournament theory was first published over 25 years ago by economists Edward Lazear and Sherwin Rosen, who felt that tournaments were an integral, though usually invisible, part of the workplace. However, they went a long way in explaining office life frustrations--that the more bosses get paid and the less they have worked to earn that bloated sum, the more everyone else wants it.

"In other words, we work our socks off in underpaying jobs in the hope that one day we'll win the rat races and become overpaid fat cats ourselves," columnist Tim Harford wrote in Forbes in 2006.

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