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Employment in the Public Sector

  • Lorenzo Forni
  • Raffaela Giordano

This paper presents a model of wage-employment determination in private and public sectors, which allows us to analyze the effects of different institutional arrangements on labor market equilibria. In particular, it focuses on how different degrees of coordination in decision processes affect hiring and wage setting outcomes. Cooperation in unions’ behavior results in wage increases and employment reduction in the private sector, whereas it induces wage moderation and employment expansion in the public sector. Not surprisingly, if public decision units do not fully internalize the aggregate budget constraint in their hiring processes, the public sector wage bill and the level of taxation increase, thus enhancing the crowding out effect on private employment. Such effect appears to be stronger in the presence of encompassing union behavior. An empirical analysis performed on a sample of OECD countries in the period 1960-2000 seems to support the main predictions of the model.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1085.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1085
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  1. Yianos Kontopoulos & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "Government Fragmentation and Fiscal Policy Outcomes: Evidence from OECD Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 81-102 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Boeri, Tito & Nicoletti, Giuseppe & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2000. "Regulation And Labour Market Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 2420, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 2002. "Public employment and labour market performance," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(34), pages 7-66, 04.
  4. Pedro Portugal & Mário Centeno, 2001. "Wages of Civil Servants," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  5. Holmlund, Bertil, 1993. "Wage setting in private and public sectors in a model with endogenous government behavior," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 149-162, May.
  6. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
  7. Gregory, Robert G. & Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Recent developments in public sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 53, pages 3573-3630 Elsevier.
  8. Holmlund, Bertil, 1997. "Macroeconomic Implications of Cash Limits in the Public Sector," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(253), pages 49-62, February.
  9. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Schwarz, Joshua L., 1987. "Public-sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1219-1260 Elsevier.
  10. Lorenzo Forni, 2004. "Centralization of wage bargaining and the unemployment rate: revisiting the hump-shape hypothesis," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 492, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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