Context matters

Two interesting reports made available in the last couple of days illustrate, once again, the importance of context. In one, the research service The Analyst's Accounting Observer's 2010 S & P 500 Executive Compensation Report, researchers examine the relationship between officer pay and various performance indicators. The most important finding? Some pay packages have become very large, large enough to show up even against such factors as a firm's net income, market capitalization, or contributions to an entire firm's pension plans. Gretchen Morgensen describes the findings in some detail in yesterday's New York Times. A condensed version of the report is available for free here.

This morning, news reports say that the Giving USA Foundation reports that charitable giving  by US corporation, individuals, and foundations increased last year by 3.8%. This is not a large percentage increase (though the increment in absolute terms is pretty big) and not as big as the numbers in the The Analyst's Accounting Observer suggests it might be. I'm relying on news reports for the content of Giving USA's report; a free download of the Executive Summary is available here but I've so far been unable to open it.

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