links for 2010-09-16

  • "The research in this paper investigates whether state and local public employees are overpaid at the expense of taxpayers.

    …Thirty-seven states are struggling with substantial budget deficits. Several governors have identified excessive public employee compensation as a major cause of their states’ fiscal duress. The remedies they propose include public employee pay freezes, benefits reductions, privatization, major revisions to the rules of collective bargaining, and constitutional amendments to limit pay increases, each as a necessary antidote to the public employee overpayment malady.

    The data analysis in this paper, however, indicate that public employees, both state and local government, are not overpaid. Comparisons controlling for education, experience, hours of work, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity and disability, reveal no significant overpayment but a slight undercompensation of public employees when compared to private employee compensation costs…"

  • "Another day, another study debunking the myth of the overpaid public sector worker:

    That said, I continue to think this whole controversy is focusing on the wrong thing. The public sector is charged with a number of extremely important and difficult tasks. It’s supposed to educate children. It’s supposed to identify dangerous criminals and lock them up, while avoiding unduly burdening the innocent. It’s supposed to put out fires. It’s supposed to build roads. It’s supposed to prevent financial institutions from wrecking the economy. It’s supposed to collect a vast array of taxes and disburse myriad transfer payments

    It’s worth paying a lot of money to have these difficult and important tasks undertaken by competent, efficient, non-corrupt individuals. Part of Singapore’s big take-off was, if I’m not mistaken, a decision to pay civil servants a lot more than they’d previous be paid to ensure that the city state would have a high quality of government…."