A few days ago I wondered if shamelessness was the the new virtue. Yesterday I didn't quite find an answer, but I did find another great example of how information transparency doesn't necessarily lead to greater probity and economy, but greater recklessness or shamelessness. This is from Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational, pp. 16-17:
[I]n 1993, federal securities regulators forced companies, for the first time, to reveal details about the pay and perks of their top executives. The idea was that once pay was in the open, boards would be reluctant to give executives outrageous salaries and benefits….
But guess what happened. Once salaries became public information, the media regularly ran special stories ranking CEOs by pay. Rather than suppressing the executive perks, the publicity had CEOs in America comparing their pay with that of everyone else. The result?… [I]n 1976 the average CEO was paid 36 times as much as the average worker. In 1993, the average CEO was paid 131 times as much…. Now the average CEO makes about 369 times as much as the average worker– about three times the salary before executive compensation went public.