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Does it pay to be a public-sector employee?

Author

Listed:
  • Fabien Postel-Vinay

    (University College London and Institute for Fiscal Studies, UK, and IZA, Germany)

Abstract

Direct wage comparisons show that public-sector employees earn around 15% more than private-sector employees. But should these differences be interpreted as a “public-sector premium”? Two points need to be considered. First, the public and private sectors differ in the jobs they offer and the type of workers they employ, which explains a large share of the wage gap. Second, public- and private-sector careers also differ in other important dimensions, such as job stability and income progression, which are relevant to individual career choices. So any comparison of the two sectors should take these points into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2015. "Does it pay to be a public-sector employee?," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 156-156, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izawol:journl:y:2015:n:156
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Hélène Turon, 2007. "The Public Pay Gap in Britain: Small Differences That (Don't?) Matter," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1460-1503, October.
    2. Richard Disney & Carl Emmerson & Gemma Tetlow, 2009. "What is a Public Sector Pension Worth?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(541), pages 517-535, November.
    3. Cappellari, Lorenzo, 2002. "Earnings dynamics and uncertainty in Italy: how do they differ between the private and public sectors?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 477-496, September.
    4. Philip Du Caju & Erwan Gautier & Daphne Momferatu & Melanie Ward-Warmedinger, 2009. "Institutional Features of Wage Bargaining in 23 European Countries, the US and Japan," Ekonomia, Cyprus Economic Society and University of Cyprus, vol. 12(2), pages 57-108, Winter.
    5. Francisco de Castro & Matteo Salto & Hugo Steiner, 2013. "The gap between public and private wages: new evidence for the EU," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 508, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    6. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 2002. "Public employment and labour market performance," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(34), pages 7-66, April.
    7. Dickson, Matt & Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Turon, Hélène, 2014. "The lifetime earnings premium in the public sector: The view from Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 141-161.
    8. Holm-Hadulla, Fédéric & Kamath, Kishore & Lamo, Ana & Pérez, Javier J. & Schuknecht, Ludger, 2010. "Public wages in the euro area - towards securing stability and competitiveness," Occasional Paper Series 112, European Central Bank.
    9. Jake Bradley & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Hélène Turon, 2017. "Public Sector Wage Policy and Labor Market Equilibrium: A Structural Model," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(6), pages 1214-1257.
    10. Holm-Hadulla, Fédéric & Kamath, Kishore & Lamo, Ana & Pérez, Javier J. & Schuknecht, Ludger, 2010. "Public wages in the euro area - towards securing stability and competitiveness," Occasional Paper Series 112, European Central Bank.
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Public sector private sector
      by Inaki Villanueva in Applied economist on 2015-12-04 23:00:00

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public-private pay gap; lifetime career values; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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