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Public Sector Pay Gap in France: New Evidence Using Panel Data

  • Bargain, Olivier

    ()

    (University of Aix-Marseille II)

  • Melly, Blaise

    ()

    (Brown University)

We estimate the public wage gap in France for the period 1990-2002, both at the mean and at different quantiles of the wage distribution, for men and women separately. We account for unobserved heterogeneity by using fixed effects estimations on panel data and, departing from usual practice, allow the public wage markup to vary over time. We also provide one of the very first applications of fixed effects quantile regressions. Contrary to common belief, results convey that monetary returns are not fundamentally different in the public sector. Firstly, public wage ‘premia’ (for women) or ‘penalties’ (for men) are essentially the result of selection. After controlling for unobserved heterogeneity, only small pay differences between sectors remain over time, reflecting fluctuations due to specific public policies and to the pro-cyclicality of private sector wages. The long-term difference is essentially zero. Secondly, the relative compression of the wage distribution by the public sector is also partly due to unobserved characteristics. The most natural explanation for these results is that the civil sector manages to attract better workers in the lower part of the distribution, in part because of non-monetary gains (including job protection), but fails to retain the most productive ones at the top.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3427.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3427
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  1. Koenker, Roger, 2004. "Quantile regression for longitudinal data," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 74-89, October.
  2. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Hélène Turon, 2005. "The Public Pay Gap in Britain: Small Differences That (Don't?) Matter," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 05/121, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  3. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 285-300, Summer.
  4. Dustmann, Christian & van Soest, Arthur, 1998. "Public and private sector wages of male workers in Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1417-1441, September.
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  6. Lucifora, Claudio & Meurs, Dominique, 2004. "The Public Sector Pay Gap in France, Great Britain and Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 1041, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Joshua Angrist & Victor Chernozhukov & Ivan Fernandez-Val, 2004. "Quantile Regression under Misspecification, with an Application to the U.S. Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 10428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Don Bellante & Albert N. Link, 1981. "Are public sector workers more risk averse than private sector workers?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(3), pages 408-412, April.
  9. 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.
  10. Richard Disney & Amanda Gosling, 1998. "Does it pay to work in the public sector?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(4), pages 347-374, November.
  11. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/071, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  12. Bonin, Holger & Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Cross-sectional earnings risk and occupational sorting: The role of risk attitudes," Munich Reprints in Economics 20204, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Alberto Abadie & Joshua Angrist & Guido Imbens, 2002. "Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Effect of Subsidized Training on the Quantiles of Trainee Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 91-117, January.
  14. Florence Audier, 2000. "La transmission du statut dans la Fonction publique," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 337(1), pages 121-133.
  15. Disney, Richard F & Gosling, Amanda, 2003. "A New Method for Estimating Public Sector Pay Premia: Evidence from Britain in the 1990's," CEPR Discussion Papers 3787, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Hartog, Joop & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1993. "Public and private sector wages in the Netherlands," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 97-114, January.
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  18. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "A Reexamination of the Federal-Private Wage Differential in the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 270-93, April.
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  21. Julien Pouget & Denis Fougère, 2003. "Les déterminants économiques de l'entrée dans la fonction publique," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 369(1), pages 15-48.
  22. Richard Disney & Amanda Gosling, 2008. "Changing public sector wage differentials in the UK," IFS Working Papers W08/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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  24. Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2002. "The Consequences of The Decline in Public Sector Pay in Britain: A Little Bit of Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(477), pages F107-F118, February.
  25. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Hélène Turon, 2005. "The Public Pay Gap in Britain: Small Differences That (Don't?) Matter," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590765, HAL.
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