More Onerous Work Deserves Higher Pay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific


When asked whether some people deserve more income than others, Milton Friedman responded: “I don’t think desert has anything to do with it. Desert is an impossible thing to decide. Who deserves what? Nobody deserves anything. Thank god we don’t get what we deserve!” To defend his skepticism about desert, Friedman points out that how hard people work, and how large of a productive contribution they make, is ultimately a matter of luck. We argue that Friedman’s luck challenge to desert can be resisted. In particular, it seems to us that one particular conception of desert can plausibly justify unequal pay: compensatory desert. Salaries should compensate workers for the relative reduction of welfare opportunities compared to other types of work that exist in society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEqual Pay for All
Subtitle of host publicationEconomy, Practicability, and Ethics
EditorsAnders Örtenblad
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783030535759
ISBN (Print)9783030535759
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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