Take WallyWorld, and the many other companies that have followed its lead. You're an "associate," not an employee.
Does that get you any more money? Or any more assistance on late-night stocking?
No and no, of course.
Or take an industry like advertising or public relations, where you get the title of "account executive" your first day on the job. You're really an executive of nothing; you can barely go to the bathroom without a supervisor say-so.
Or, take the inflation of titles in small and medium-small companies.
I've never been the vice president of anything, but, if there's an executive vice president over you, then being a vice president pretty much means jack shit, doesn't it?
For that matter, if you have to be called an executive vice president to distinguish you from a plain old jack shit vice president, it probably doesn't mean too much, either.
But, did you once, if not now, fall for it? It's OK to be honest.
That said, titles cut both ways.
I recently, in my Career Builder feed, saw a job for a semiweekly newspaper on the High Plains, owned by cut-rate king Digital First Media.
With no daily newspaper around for more than 100 miles, and
no semiweekly, a cut above weeklies, around (I think) for at least 50,
and no other DFM paper around for 200 or so, it's cheap on titles.
General manager instead of publisher. News editor instead of managing editor. And, the news editor, the job I saw, officially listed as having a 4.5 day work week.
That's how I know those titles are used to justify lesser pay.
So, to summarize?
High title is used to fob you off on prestige instead of pay raise.
Low title is designed to "slot" you into lower pay.
Little bit of pleasure for the start of your work week?