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Wage Differentials among Older Workers in the Public and Private Sectors

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  • Joseph F. Quinn

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph F. Quinn, 1979. "Wage Differentials among Older Workers in the Public and Private Sectors," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 41-62.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:14:y:1979:i:1:p:41-62
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:pri:cepsud:227rosen is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Philipp Bewerunge & Harvey S. Rosen, 2013. "Wages, Pensions, and Public-Private Sector Compensation Differentials for Older Workers," NBER Working Papers 19454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alan B. Krueger, 1988. "Are Public Sector Workers Paid More Than Their Alternative Wage? Evidence from Longitudinal Data and Job Queues," NBER Chapters,in: When Public Sector Workers Unionize, pages 217-242 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. David A. Wise, 1990. "Overview," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 1-12 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • David A. Wise, 1985. "Overview," NBER Chapters,in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 1-18 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • David A. Wise, 1989. "Overview," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Aging, pages 1-8 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • David A. Wise, 1987. "Overview," NBER Chapters,in: Public Sector Payrolls, pages 1-18 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mueller, Richard E., 1998. "Public-private sector wage differentials in Canada: evidence from quantile regressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 229-235, August.
    6. Chatterjee, Swarn & Zahirovic-Herbert, Velma, 2009. "Retirement Plan Participation in the United States: Do Public Sector Employees Save More?," MPRA Paper 13546, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Philipp Bewerunge & Harvey S. Rosen, 2012. "Wages, Pensions, and Public-Private Sector Compensation Differentials," Working Papers 1388, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    8. Zweimuller, J & Winter-Ebmer, R, 1994. "Gender Wage Differentials in Private and Public Sector Jobs," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(3), pages 271-285, July.
    9. Steven F. Venti, 1987. "Wages in the Federal and Private Sectors," NBER Chapters,in: Public Sector Payrolls, pages 147-182 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. David Nellor, 1984. "Public bureau budgets and jurisdiction size: An empirical note," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 175-183, January.

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