Compensation for State and Local Government Workers
Are state and local government workers overcompensated? In this paper, we step back from the highly charged rhetoric and address this question with the two primary data sources for looking at compensation of state and local government workers: the Current Population Survey conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Employer Costs for Employee Compensation microdata collected as part of the National Compensation Survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In both data sets, the workers being hired in the public sector have higher skill levels than those in the private sector, so the challenge is to compare across sectors in a way that adjusts suitably for this difference. After controlling for skill differences and incorporating employer costs for benefits packages, we find that, on average, public sector workers in state government have compensation costs 3-10 percent greater than those for workers in the private sector, while in local government the gap is 10-19 percent. We caution that this finding is somewhat dependent on the chosen sample and specification, that averages can obscure broader differences in distributions, and that a host of worker and job attributes are not available to us in these data. Nonetheless, the data suggest that public sector workers, especially local government ones, on average, receive greater remuneration than observably similar private sector workers. Overturning this result would require, we think, strong arguments for particular model specifications, or different data.
Volume (Year): 26 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/|
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- James M. Poterba & Kim S. Rueben, 1994. "The Distribution of Public Sector Wage Premia: New Evidence Using Quantile Regression Methods," NBER Working Papers 4734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
- Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1988.
"An Analysis of Public- and Private-Sector Wages Allowing for Endogenous Choices of Both Government and Union Status,"
Journal of Labor Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 229-53, April.
- Joseph Gyourko & Joseph Tracy, 1986. "An Analysis of Public and Private Sector Wages Allowing for Endogenous Choices of Both Government and Union Status," NBER Working Papers 1920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Manning, W. G. & Duan, N. & Rogers, W. H., 1987. "Monte Carlo evidence on the choice between sample selection and two-part models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 59-82, May.
- Kenneth R. Troske, 1998.
"Evidence on the Employer Size-Wage Premium From Worker-Establishment Matched Data,"
Labor and Demography
- Kenneth R. Troske, 1999. "Evidence On The Employer Size-Wage Premium From Worker-Establishment Matched Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 15-26, February.
- Kenneth R Troske, 1994. "Evidence on the Employer Size-Wage Premium From Worker-Establishment Matched Data," Working Papers 94-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2004.
"Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation,"
Journal of Labor Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 689-722, July.
- Hirsch, Barry & Schumacher, Edward J., 2003. "Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation," IZA Discussion Papers 783, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Maury Gittleman & Brooks Pierce, 2011.
"Inter-Industry Wage Differentials Job Content and Unobserved Ability,"
Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(2), pages 356-374, January.
- Maury Gittleman & Brooks Pierce, 2011. "Inter-Industry Wage Differentials, Job Content and Unobserved Ability," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(2), pages 356-374, January.
- Gregory, Robert G. & Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Recent developments in public sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 53, pages 3573-3630 Elsevier.
- Fortin, Nicole & Lemieux, Thomas & Firpo, Sergio, 2011.
"Decomposition Methods in Economics,"
Handbook of Labor Economics,
- Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
- Dale Belman & John S. Heywood, 2004. "Public wage differentials and the treatment of occupational differences," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(1), pages 135-152.
- Jeffrey Thompson & John Schmitt, 2010. "The Wage Penalty for State and Local Government Employees in New England," Working Papers wp233, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
- Michael Podgursky & Ruttaya Tongrut, 2006. "(Mis-)Measuring the Relative Pay of Public School Teachers," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 425-440, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:26:y:2012:i:1:p:217-42. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)or (Michael P. Albert)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.