Presidential Pay and the GDP

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Mar 17, 2011    •    576 Views

 The Economist decided it would be interesting to know how a political leader’s pay compares to what a typical citizen from that country earns. Here are some of the numbers with salary first and then the multiple of per capita GDP next. I’ve approximated because the numbers are from a bar graph:

Kenya: $486,000 (proposed), 240x

Singapore: $2,183,516, 42x

Indonesia: $124,171, 28x

U.S. $400,000, 8x

Israel $120,814, 4x

China: $10,633, 2x

You might want to look at this per capita GDP list to see worldwide poverty and affluence firsthand. Qatar is #1 ($145,300) while Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo are last at #’s 228 and 229 ($300). The dollars are 2010 estimates.

As a second step, you might check income distribution. In a list of 136 countries, Sweden is ranked as having the most income equality. Sweden ($39,000) is #23 on the per capita GDP list.

The Economic Lesson

GDP indicates the total value of goods and services produced in one nation during one year. Per capita GDP is GDP divided by population. Because these GDP figures are averages, it is helpful also to look at data that relates to inequality.



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