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Are Low Skill Public Sector Workers Really Overpaid? A Quasi-Differenced Panel Data Analysis

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Abstract

Public-private sectoral wage differentials have been studied extensively using quantile regression techniques. These typically find large public sector premiums at the bottom of the wage distribution. This may imply that low skill workers are ‘overpaid’, prompting concerns over efficiency. We note several other potential explanations for this result and explicitly test whether the premium varies with skill, using Australian data. We use a quasi-differenced GMM panel data model which has not been previously applied to this topic, internationally. Unlike other available methods, this technique identifies sectoral differences in returns to unobserved skill. It also facilitates a decomposition of the wage gap into components explained by differences in returns to all (observed and unobserved) skills and by differences in their stock. We find no evidence to suggest that the premium varies with skill. One interpretation is that the compressed wage profile of the public sector induces the best workers (on unobserved skills) to join the public sector in low wage occupations, vice versa in high wage occupations. We also estimate the average public sector premium to be 6% for women and statistically insignificant (4%) for men.

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  • Peter Siminski, 2011. "Are Low Skill Public Sector Workers Really Overpaid? A Quasi-Differenced Panel Data Analysis," Economics Working Papers wp11-10, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:uow:depec1:wp11-10
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    Cited by:

    1. Raúl Ramos & Esteban Sanromá & Hipólito Simón, 2014. "Public-Private Sector Wage Differentials by Type of Contract: Evidence from Spain," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 208(1), pages 107-141, March.
    2. Ayça Akarçay Gürbüz & Sezgin Polat, 2016. "Public--private wage differentials in Turkey: public policy or market dynamics?," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(3), pages 326-356, May.
    3. Kostas Mavromaras & Stephane Mahuteau & Kostas Mavromaras & Sue Richardson & Rong Zhu, 2017. "Public–Private Sector Wage Differentials in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 93, pages 105-121, June.
    4. Vladimir Gimpelson & Anna Lukiyanova & Anna Sharunina, 2015. "Estimating the Public-Private Wage Gap in Russia: What Does Quantile Regression Tell Us?," HSE Working papers WP BRP 104/EC/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public sector; wages; quasi-differenced panel data; GMM; Australia;

    JEL classification:

    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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