"In a recent study published by the Academy of Management Journal, Prof. Peter Bamberger of Tel Aviv University's Recanati School of Business and Dr. Elena Belogolovsky of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations have published a study that explains why pay secrecy is likely to hurt an individual's work performance and prompt top talent to seek new employment. They conclude that pay secrecy weakens the perception by employees that a performance improvement will be accompanied by a pay increase. It also finds that high-performing workers are more sensitive than others when they perceive no link between performance and pay; suggesting that pay secrecy could limit a company's ability to retain top talent."
So who, if anybody, benefits from pay secrecy?
Personally, I think pay secrecy is good. There's always some amount of unfairness in pay. For example, a younger person might produce more than an older person who is getting paid more. But that's a sort of informal seniority system that exists as a result of people expecting ongoing raises throughout their careers.
But knowing other peoples' pay reveals the pay unfairness - whether real or just perceived - which leads to bad feelings that disrupt productivity. We're all better off not knowing the details.
In the cases cited in other comments here where pay is known such as the government and military, the pay is based on a system which is known to all, and "unfairness" is eliminated through the fact of the system itself. In other words, someone might be paid more that someone else who produces more, but that isn't "unfair" because it's known and systematic.
I was quite surprised that someone marked my parent comment as a troll. It was completely well-intended, and my honest point of view. It never even dawned on me that anyone would find this comment to be objectionable in any way.
FWIW, the best way to encourage participation around here is to allow and encourage a variety of viewpoints. I think there has been very little actual "trolling" here so far, so I don't think anything should be marked as a troll unless it's completely clear that it's intended that way.
Alternatively, the folks who run this could add a "Disagree" option, if moderators really want to express that sentiment.
(Again, the above was my honest point of view. Feel free to simply ignore it if you don't find any merit in it. Or, if you *really* need to express your disagreement, the "Troll" option is available to you...)