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MAKING AMERICA WORK: ALFRED P. MURRAH PROFESSORSHIP INAUGURAL LECTURE* - page 6 / 20

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Dispatchers

$035,115

002,103

$16.53

Prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers

$033,487

001,672

$19.45

Secretaries

$032,349

001,994

$16.11

Garbage collectors

$031,284

002,172

$12.96

Transportation ticket and reservation agents

$030,044

002,054

$14.78

Bank tellers

$022,317

002,049

$10.65

Nursery workers

$021,671

001,937

$09.87

Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants

$020,959

002,015

$10.20

Cashiers

$019,305

002,033

$13.23

Hotel clerks

$018,255

002,022

$08.95

W aiters and waitresses

$008,789

001,906

$04.44

58

OKLAHOMA LAW REVIEW

[Vol. 60:53

Source: Jonathan Barry Forman, M aking Am erica Work (2006), 27 (figure 2.4)

Figure 2 shows the distribution of earnings of full-time workers in 2004 — by percentile. That year, a high-paid worker — one in the ninetieth percentile

  • earned $84,000. Meanwhile, a worker in the tenth percentile earned just

$15,600.

One way to measure inequality is to compare the earnings of workers at various positions in the earnings distribution. For example, dividing $84,000 by $15,600 gives us a so-called “90/10 ratio” of more than five to one.

In fact, the remarkable difference between the pay of average workers and the pay of top earners simply cannot be captured in a graph like this. In 2004, for example, the typical chief executive officer of a major U.S. company made

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