The US has a history of discussing the pay of the relatively well-paid. This is partly because pay levels of some are revealed publicly (e.g., CEOs of publicly traded companies). Americans are also characterized as being celebrity-obsessed. So discussing the pay of superstars seems inevitable. However, they do not have quality data on the compensation of the relatively highly paid in many organizations and professions. When the author speaks about compensation in front of large groups, someone (and in many cases, many people) gets incensed over what they term "outrageous" or "egregious" levels of executive compensation. Athletes are rarely mentioned. For an economist, this is a paradox. Market forces for pay apply to all occupations after all although some may argue some institutions provide a catalyst for higher pay in some occupations.

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