One Way to Push Back Against Income Inequality

If one word could sum up politics and economics today at home and around the world, it would probably be "inequality." The more we learn about disparities between the wealthiest 1 percent and everyone else, the more it seems things feel fundamentally broken. If you feel helpless against the enormity of such an issue, you may actually have one way to push back.

Psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, have just released research looking into a politically potent ratio: the gap between an average worker's salary and the CEO's. The federal Security and Exchange Commission has found that the average pay ratio at publicly held corporations (think McDonald's or General Electric) runs in favor of CEOs 361 to 1. Fortune 500 companies can have a gap 10 times as big.

For consumers, that actually pushes them away from products and services — and from seeking employment there. With pay ratio information and worker reviews on websites like Glassdoor more widely available than ever, shoppers and would-be employees are making decisions even beyond value and career direction. This doesn't always shake out poorly for the company, though: According to co-author Serena Chen, "if a CEO makes a great deal of money, but the average worker also makes a good wage, people feel that the wealth is being distributed more fairly and in turn will have a more positive impression of the company."

Millennials especially want to be informed about how their money and their labor goes to work. Anything that demonstrates an ethical approach to both is far more likely to come out on top.