What Factors Affect a Politician's Salary?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 09 August 2019
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Some factors that affect a politician's salary are the person's job responsibilities, country, and the politician himself or herself. Like most jobs, a rule of thumb is that the more people a politician manages or the greater his or her responsibilities, the more he or she is paid. In addition, some countries are well known for setting a politician’s salary very high. The politician can also adjust his or her salary downward or donate it to charity. Lastly, retired politicians usually still get a percentage of their former salaries, which is called pension.

A major factor that affects a politician’s salary is his or her exact job. Politicians in a small town, such as a member of a city council, are paid much less than one of the country’s political leaders. An example of this can be observed in the United States; small-town politicians might be paid nothing or very little, while the president of the United States earns a small fortune per year. In general, the more authority a position has and the more competitive the job is, the more it pays.


Some countries simply have a traditionally high politician's salary. This salary rarely reflects how profitable the country is; in fact, some political leaders earn tens to hundreds of times the amount that an average citizen makes each year. The vast majority of political leaders do not earn as much as the top earners in their countries because the practice is somewhat controversial.

In many cases, the politician himself or herself can affect his or her salary. When presented with a raise, it is not an uncommon move to reject the raise, especially if the city or country is having a hard time financially. In addition, some politicians have rejected their entire or most of their salary and instead used it for something they considered to be of greater need. It is also usually possible to accept a position at a lower rate.

Many politicians, depending on the country and particular position, receive retirement benefits similar to other government employees. Time on the job, age, and salary information typically contribute to pension benefits when this is the case. Cost of living also plays a role in how much a retired politician receives. An area's cost of living is how much money it takes to maintain a certain standard of living, which tends to change with time and varies by location.


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