Salaries, Turnover, and Performance in the Federal Criminal Justice System
The effect of salaries on turnover and performance is analyzed for U.S. attorneys in office during the years 1969 through 1999. Lower salaries are shown to increase the turnover of U.S. attorneys, and higher turnover is shown to reduce output. Two features distinguish U.S. attorneys (chief federal prosecutors) from other public- and private-sector employees. First, since 1977, U.S. attorney salaries have been tied to the salaries of members of Congress and are thus exogenously determined. Second, there are public measures for the output of U.S. attorneys. Both features simplify the study of the effect of salaries on turnover and performance.
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