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An Analysis of Workers' Choice between Employment in the Public and Private Sectors

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  • Rebecca M. Blank

Abstract

This paper estimates the extent to which workers with different personal characteristics are likely to be employed in the public versus the private sector. The author develops a reduced-form two-way probit model to analyze workers' choice between the two employment sectors, together with a three-way model that breaks this decision down to a choice among private, federal, and state and local government jobs. She estimates these models using May 1979 CPS data. The results show that, other things equal, government employment is preferred by the “protected†groups of veterans, nonwhites, and women. In addition, highly educated and more experienced workers are more likely to choose the public sector. Significant differences are found within the public sector between federal and state-local choices. The results also indicate that sectoral choice is influenced by more than wage comparisons.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca M. Blank, 1985. "An Analysis of Workers' Choice between Employment in the Public and Private Sectors," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(2), pages 211-224, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:38:y:1985:i:2:p:211-224
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    Cited by:

    1. Moundir, Lassassi & Menna, Khaled, 2016. "La Notion De « Femmes Au Foyer » En Algerie, Une Realite Ou Une Representation Nostalgique [The Notion Of “ Homemaker” In Algeria, A Reality Or A Nostalgic Representation]," MPRA Paper 85740, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Kankaanranta, Terhi & Nummi, Tapio & Vainiomaki, Jari & Halila, Hannu & Hyppola, Harri & Isokoski, Mauri & Kujala, Santero & Kumpusalo, Esko & Mattila, Kari & Virjo, Irma & Vanska, Jukka & Rissanen, P, 2007. "The role of job satisfaction, job dissatisfaction and demographic factors on physicians' intentions to switch work sector from public to private," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 50-64, September.
    3. Pablo Sanabria, 2016. "Job sector and public service motivation: evidence from Colombia," Working Papers 18, Faculty of Economics and Management, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali.
    4. Pascal Jacquinot & Matija Lozej & Massimiliano Pisani, 2018. "Labor Tax Reforms, Cross-Country Coordination, and the Monetary Policy Stance in the Euro Area: A Structural Model-Based Approach," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 14(3), pages 65-140, June.
    5. Terhi Maczulskij, 2015. "Who chooses to become a public sector employee?," Working Papers 301, Palkansaajien tutkimuslaitos, Labour Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Rebecca M. Blank, 1993. "Public Sector Growth and Labor Market Flexibility: The United States vs. The United Kingdom," NBER Working Papers 4339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Dmitry Kucherov & Oxana Pikuleva, 2015. "The Public Civil Service Branding in Russia," Public administration issues, Higher School of Economics, issue 4, pages 65-78.
    8. Garibaldi, Pietro & Gomes, Pedro Maia & Sopraseuth, Thepthida, 2019. "Public Employment Redux," IZA Discussion Papers 12871, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Lucia Rizzica, 2016. "Why go public? A study of the individual determinants of public sector employment choice," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 343, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    10. Prümer, Stephanie, 2019. "Ist der Staat der bessere Arbeitgeber? Arbeitsqualität im Öffentlichen und Privaten Sektor in Deutschland," Discussion Papers 107, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    11. George J. Borjas, 2002. "The Wage Structure and the Sorting of Workers into the Public Sector," NBER Working Papers 9313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Blank, Rebecca M, 1990. "Why Are Wages Cyclical in the 1970s?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 16-47, January.
    13. Danzer, Natalia, 2019. "Job satisfaction and self-selection into the public or private sector: Evidence from a natural experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 46-62.
    14. Jennifer Laird, 2017. "Public Sector Employment Inequality in the United States and the Great Recession," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(1), pages 391-411, February.
    15. John V. Winters, 2018. "Veteran status, disability rating, and public sector employment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(6), pages 1011-1016, June.
    16. Stephanie Prümer & Claus Schnabel, 2019. "Questioning the Stereotype of the “Malingering Bureaucrat”: Absence from Work in the Public and Private Sector in Germany," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(4), pages 570-603, November.
    17. Terhi Maczulskij, 2016. "Higher education and public sector employment: evidence from Finnish data on twins," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(5), pages 605-619, September.
    18. Menna, Khaled & Lassassi, Moundir, 2016. "المرأة الماكثة في البيت في الجزائر: قدرات منسية؟! [The Housewives In Algeria: Forgotten Capacities?]," MPRA Paper 85421, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Rebecca M. Blank, 1994. "Public Sector Growth and Labor Market Flexibility: The United States versus the United Kingdom," NBER Chapters, in: Social Protection versus Economic Flexibility: Is There a Trade-Off?, pages 223-264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Pedro Gomes, 2009. "Labour market effects of public sector employment and wages," 2009 Meeting Papers 313, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    21. Ahmed Nawaz Hakro & Yaseen Ghulam & Shabbar Jaffry & Vyoma Shah, 2021. "Employment Choices and Wage Differentials: Evidence on Labor Force Data Sets from Pakistan," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 64(1), pages 199-216, March.

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