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Income gap widening in Sweden: study

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Income gap widening in Sweden: study
08:12 CET+01:00
Top managers from the Swedish business world earn 50 times as much as a common labourer, according to a new study carried out by one of the country's largest labour organizations.

The study, carried out by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO), also found that the heads of leading venture capital firms take home salaries equivalent to the incomes of 95 industrial workers.

According to LO economists, the income gap between workers and Sweden's highest paid executives is the greatest it's been since the group started analyzing earnings differences in 1950.

Specifically, the LO study looks at salaries earned by what it calls the “power elite”, which consists of 198 high-ranking positions in the top levels of the economic, democratic, and bureaucratic spheres.

The results of the study were presented on Wednesday by LO chair Wanja Lundby-Wedin in an article in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

The highest salaries in Sweden can be found is within the economic elite, which consists of 50 directors from the business world.

And the gap between their earnings and that of workers continues to grow.

In 2007, salaries for the highest positions in business equaled the earnings of 51 labourers, nearly twice the level found in 1950.

And at the 10 largest venture capital firms, which in 2007 paid their highest bosses salaries 95 times that of the average Swedish worker, between 2003 and 2007 top executives earned several hundred times what a common labourer made during the same period.

The differences between top earners in the democratic and bureaucratic field were completely different, writes Lundby-Wedin.

The democratic elite, comprised of top officials from the Riksdag, the government, political parties, and trade associations, earned seven times as much as the average worker in 2007, up from four times as much in 1950.

The high-ranking civil servants in the state bureaucracy, and leaders within academia and the media world, as well as the heads of large, state-owned companies which together make up the so-called “bureaucratic elite” took home seven and half times as much as the average worker in 2007, the same difference as reported in 1950.

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