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Public Sector Growth and Labor Market Flexibility: The United States vs. The United Kingdom

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  • Rebecca M. Blank

Abstract

This paper investigates whether a larger public sector limits labor market adjustment, using data from the United States and the United Kingdom, two countries with quite different public/private employment trends. The results indicate that the two countries have a similar mix of occupations and workers in the public versus the private sector. Both countries have experienced some overall convergence of the public/private wage differential over the 1980s, although the extent of this differential varies substantially by occupation and gender. Both countries have also seen wage inequality in the public and private sectors increase over the past decade. Variability in public sector employment and wages over time is generally as great as in the private sector, although the cyclical patterns are different. The US public sector, however, seems more responsive to private sector demand changes than does the public sector in the UK. The paper concludes that the public sectors of both countries show a substantial amount of change and adaptation, particularly over the past decade.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca M. Blank, 1993. "Public Sector Growth and Labor Market Flexibility: The United States vs. The United Kingdom," NBER Working Papers 4339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4339
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Asma Hyder, 2007. "Wage Differentials, Rate of Return to Education, and Occupational Wage Share in the Labour Market of Pakistan," Labor Economics Working Papers 22197, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    2. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Sebastian Siegloch, 2013. "The politicians’ wage gap: insights from German members of parliament," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 653-676, September.
    3. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3573-3630 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Asma Hyder & Barry Reilly, 2005. "The Public and Private Sector Pay Gap in Pakistan: A Quantile Regression Analysis," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 44(3), pages 271-306.
    5. Torberg Falch, 2004. "Wage Bargaining and Employer Objectives," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 72(4), pages 515-534, July.
    6. Gabriela Miranda Moriconi & João S. Moura Neto & Nelson Marconi & Paulo Roberto Arvate, 2006. "Evidências Sobre O Comportamento Dos Governos Estaduais Na Determinação Dos Salários Dos Servidores Públicos No Brasil," Anais do XXXIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 34th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 135, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    7. Nick Adnett, 1998. "The Acquired Rights Directive and Compulsory Competitive Tendering in the UK: An Economic Perspective," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 69-81, July.
    8. Panizza, Ugo & Qiang, Christine Zhen-Wei, 2005. "Public-private wage differential and gender gap in Latin America: Spoiled bureaucrats and exploited women?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 810-833, December.
    9. George C. Bitros & Kyprianos Prodromidis, 2004. "Welfare benefits and the rate of unemployment: some evidence from the European Union in the last thirty years," Macroeconomics 0410004, EconWPA.
    10. Peter Gottschalk, 1997. "The Impact of Changes in Public Employment on Low Wage Labor Markets," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 397, Boston College Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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