Wage Differentials among Older Workers in the Public and Private Sectors
Wages in the public sector are often set on the basis of comparisons with compensation in the private sector. There are reasons to suspect that this approach may result in government pay schedules that exceed those in the private sector. In this paper, with a human capital model of wage determination and a sample of older male workers, we compare wages in federal, state, and local public administration with those in the private sector, after adjusting for differences in personal and geographic characteristics. We find that the wage gaps that do exist cannot be completely explained by human capital and locational variables. Fringe benefits, job stability, and the attractiveness of the job environment also appear to be greater in the public sector.
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