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An Analysis of Public and Private Sector Wages Allowing for Endogenous Choices of Both Government and Union Status

  • Joseph Gyourko
  • Joseph Tracy

Studies of public/private sector wage differentials typically assume that the govenment and union status of a worker are exogenous variables. Recently, some studies have relaxed this assumption slightly by allowing the union status to be endogenous. In this paper, we consider a more general selection model in which a worker selects among four labor markets: private/nonunion, private/union, public/nonunion and public/union. A multinomial logit model is estimated to capture this selection decision. Consistent wage equation estimates are then derived using a generalization of the now familiar two-step estimation procedure. Some evidence is found for selection bias in the private/nonunion and the public/union sectors.The pattern of these selection effects produces larger union wage premiumsin the public as compared to the private sector. While this is in contrast to the standard findings, the standard errors on the public sector union wage differentials are quite high. In addition, the data indicates that the public/private sector wage differential is largest for federal workers despite the "comparability" process determining their wages.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1920.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1920.

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Date of creation: May 1986
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Publication status: published as Journal of Labor Economics. Volume 6, Issue 2, Page 229, Jan 1988
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1920
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  1. Farber, Henry S, 1984. "Right-to-Work Laws and the Extent of Unionization," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 319-52, July.
  2. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1978. "Unionism and Wage Rates: A Simultaneous Equations Model with Qualitative and Limited Dependent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 415-33, June.
  3. Morley Gunderson, 1979. "Earnings Differentials between the Public and Private Sectors," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 12(2), pages 228-42, May.
  4. Casey Ichniowski, 1980. "Economic Effects of the Firefighters' Union," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(2), pages 198-211, January.
  5. Walter Fogel & David Lewin, 1974. "Wage Determination in the Public Sector," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 27(3), pages 410-431, April.
  6. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel R. Sherman & Joshua L. Schwarz, 1983. "Unions and Productivity in the Public Sector: A Study of Municipal Libraries," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(2), pages 199-213, January.
  7. William H. Baugh & Joe A. Stone, 1982. "Teachers, Unions, and Wages in the 1970s: Unionism Now Pays," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(3), pages 368-376, April.
  8. Bartel, Ann & Lewin, David, 1981. "Wages and Unionism in the Public Sector: The Case of Police," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 53-59, February.
  9. Richard B. Freeman, 1982. "Union Wage Practices and Wage Dispersion within Establishments," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(1), pages 3-21, October.
  10. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-94, July.
  11. Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1973. "The Demand for State and Local Government Employees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 366-79, June.
  12. Sharon P. Smith, 1976. "Pay Differentials between Federal Government and Private Sector Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 29(2), pages 179-197, January.
  13. Gregory M. Duncan & Duane E. Leigh, 1980. "Wage Determination in the Union and Nonunion Sectors: A Sample Selectivity Approach," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(1), pages 24-34, October.
  14. Borjas, George J, 1982. "The Politics of Employment Discrimination in the Federal Bureaucracy," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(2), pages 271-99, October.
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