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The Distribution of Public Sector Wage Premia: New Evidence Using Quantile Regression Methods

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  • James M. Poterba
  • Kim S. Rueben

Abstract

This paper documents the changing pattern of wage differentials between state and local government employees and their private sector counterparts during the 1979-1992 period. While the relative wages of women employed in the two sectors changed very little during this period, the relative wages of men employed in the state and local sector rose nearly 8%. There is substantial heterogeneity in the changes in relative wages of public and private sector employees during the 1980s. For highly educated workers, private sector wages rose significantly faster than public sector wages, while for those with at most a high school education, the public sector wage premium increased. We present both least squares and quantile regression estimates of the public sector premium. While the level of this premium is sensitive to our choice of quantile, the change in the premium, and the estimated pattern across skill levels, is not substantially affected by varying the quantile.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Poterba & Kim S. Rueben, 1994. "The Distribution of Public Sector Wage Premia: New Evidence Using Quantile Regression Methods," NBER Working Papers 4734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4734
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kevin M. Murphy & Finis Welch, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326.
    2. William J. Moore & Robert J. Newman, 1991. "Government Wage Differentials in a Municipal Labor Market: The Case of Houston Metropolitan Transit Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(1), pages 145-153, October.
    3. Joskow, Paul L. & Rose, Nancy L. & Shepard, Andrea., 1993. "Regulatory constraints on executive compensation," Working papers 3550-93., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    4. John Bound & George E. Johnson, 1989. "Changes in the Structure of Wages During the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," NBER Working Papers 2983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the Public and Private Sectors," Working Papers 662, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:24:y:1993:i:1993-1m:p:1-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. 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.
    8. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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