It’s that time of year. The time when dioceses issue updated clergy compensation guidelines in time for parishes writing their budgets for the coming year.
So why do clergy tend to be paid so much less than accountants? Is the answer that we value mammon over God? The economist Robert Whaples answers the question for his students:
[L]abor is special in some important ways — e.g. workers care about how they are used, but products rarely do. … Ironically, the compensating wage differential argument turns [mammon over God] answer on its head — the clergy are compensating by social prestige, the sense of doing something important, knowledge that they’re working for a good cause, etc. — thus they get paid less BECAUSE we collectively care more about God than money.