来源：上外培训网 发布时间：2015-03-06 作者：
In 1965, America’s big companies had a hell of a year. The stock market was booming. Sales were rising briskly, profit margins were fat, and corporate profits as a percentage of G.D.P. were at an all-time high. Almost half a century later, some things look much the same: big American companies have had a hell of a year, with the stock market soaring, margins strong, and profits hitting a new all-time high. But there’s one very noticeable difference. In 1965, C.E.O.s at big companies earned, on average, about twenty times as much as their typical employee. These days, C.E.O.s earn about two hundred and seventy times as much.
从第二段开头的the huge gap可以看出第一段讲的是两种经济状况之间的差距。这里也正好是第一题的定位：The author makes a comparison between today’s America with that of 1965______.既然第二段追究的是这种gap的原因，那么答案就在第一段结尾处：今天的CEO-雇员的收入差距比大大增加了。
That huge gap between the top and the middle is the result of a boom in executive compensation, which rose eight hundred and seventy-six per cent between 1978 and 2011, according to a study by the liberal Economic Policy Institute. In response, we’ve had a host of regulatory reforms designed to curb executive pay. The latest of these is a rule, unveiled by the S.E.C. last month, requiring companies to disclose the ratio of the C.E.O.’s pay to that of the median worker. The idea is that, once the disparity is made public, companies will be less likely to award outsized pay packages.
Faith in disclosure has been crucial to the regulation of executive pay since the nineteen-thirties, when companies were first required to reveal those figures. More recently, rules have made companies detail the size and the structure of compensation packages and have enforced transparency about the kinds of comparisons they rely on to determine salaries. The business press, meanwhile, now rigorously tracks executive pay. The result is that shareholders today know far more about C.E.O. compensation than ever before. There’s only one problem: even as companies are disclosing more and more, executive pay keeps going up and up.
This isn’t a coincidence: the drive for transparency has actually helped fuel the spiralling salaries. For one thing, it gives executives a good idea of how much they can get away with asking for. A more crucial reason, though, has to do with the way boards of directors set salaries. As the corporate-governance experts Charles Elson and Craig Ferrere write in a recent paper, boards at most companies use what’s called “peer benchmarking.” They look at the C.E.O. salaries at peer-group firms, and then peg their C.E.O.’s pay to the fiftieth, seventy-fifth, or ninetieth percentile of the peer group—never lower. This leads to the so-called Lake Wobegon effect: every C.E.O. gets treated as above average. With all the other companies following the same process, salaries ratchet inexorably higher. “Relying on peer-group comparisons, the way boards do, mathematically guarantees that pay is going to go up,” Elson told me.
On top of this, peer-group comparisons aren’t always honest: boards can be too cozy with C.E.O.s and may tweak the comparisons to justify overpaying. A recent study by the labor economist Ron Laschever shows that boards tend to include as peers companies that are bigger than they are and that pay their C.E.O.s more. The system is also skewed by so-called “leapfroggers,” the few C.E.O.s in a given year who, whether by innate brilliance or by dumb luck, end up earning astronomical salaries. Those big paydays reset the baseline expectations for everyone else.