By Robert Shiller

Aux Etats-Unis, 7.4% de l’ensemble des rémunérations des employés en 2012 ont été versés à des personnes travaillant dans la finance et les assurances. Il se peut que ce chiffre soit trop élevé, mais la réelle question est que ce rapport est encore plus élevé parmi les individus plus formés et accomplis, dont les activités peuvent être économiquement et socialement inutiles, sinon dommageables.

Dans une étude sur les toutes meilleures universités américaines, Catherine Rampell révèle qu’en 2006, à la veille de la crise financière, 25% des diplômés de Harvard, 24% à Yale, et un incroyable 46% de ceux sortis de Princeton prévoyaient de démarrer leur carrière dans le secteur des services financiers. Ces chiffres ont depuis baissé, mais il se peut que ce ne soit qu’un effet temporaire de la crise.

Selon une étude menée par Thomas Philippon et Ariell Reshef, une grande part de l’augmentation de l’activité financière s’est opérée dans les domaines les plus spéculatifs, aux dépens de la finance traditionnelle. De 1950 à 2006, l’activité de l’intermédiation de crédit (les prêts y compris la banque traditionnelle) a décliné par rapport à « d’autres activités financières » (dont les titres, les matières premières, le capital risque, les placements privés, les fonds d’investissement spéculatifs, les trusts, et les autres activités d’investissement comme la banque d’investissement). De plus, les salaires dans « les autres activités financières » ont explosé par rapport à ceux pratiqués dans l’intermédiation de crédit.

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