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The Unintended Consequences of Meritocratic Government Hiring

Author

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  • Athanasios Geromichalos
  • Ioannis Kospentaris

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

In an attempt to mitigate the negative effects of clientelism, many governments around the world have adopted meritocratic hiring of public employees. This paper challenges the effectiveness of this common practice by showing that meritocratic government hiring can have unintended negative consequences on macroeconomic aggregates. In many countries, public employees enjoy considerable job security and generous compensation schemes; as a result, many talented workers choose to work for the public sector, which deprives the private sector of productive potential employees. This, in turn, reduces firms' incentives to create jobs, increases unemployment, and lowers GDP. To quantify the effects of this novel channel, we extend the standard Diamond-Mortensen-Pissarides model to incorporate workers of heterogeneous productivity and a government that fills public sector jobs based on merit. We calibrate the model to aggregate data from Greece and perform a series of counterfactual exercises. We find that the adverse effects of our mechanism on the economy's TFP, GDP, and unemployment are sizable.

Suggested Citation

  • Athanasios Geromichalos & Ioannis Kospentaris, 2020. "The Unintended Consequences of Meritocratic Government Hiring," Working Papers 335, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:335
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    File URL: http://repec.dss.ucdavis.edu/files/B1SGGyaXQgpurSqiEncjuJAH/draft.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    search and matching models; public sector; meritocracy; unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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