Direct Democracy and Public Employees
AbstractIn the public sector, employment may be inefficiently high because of patronage, and wages may be inefficiently high because of public employee interest groups. This paper explores whether the initiative process, a direct democracy institution of growing importance, ameliorates these political economy problems. In a sample of 650+ cities, I find that when public employees cannot bargain collectively and patronage could be a problem, initiatives appear to cut employment but not wages. When public employees bargain collectively, driving up wages, the initiative appears to cut wages but not employment. The employment-cutting result is robust; the wage-cutting result survives some but not all robustness tests. (JEL D72, J31, J45, J52)
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.
Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
- J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
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