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America’s Privileged Class
We’re No. 1 — In Public Employee Pay
Andrew G. Biggs National Review, August 12, 2013
Pay for state and local government employees has gotten a great deal of publicity. Lost in the press attention, however, is that federal employee compensation remains a problem, too, and new data again indicate that Washington, D.C., may be overpaying for the 2 million workers it employs, says Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
In a 2011 paper with Jason Richwine, Biggs concluded that federal workers receive salaries and benefits around 37 percent higher than do private sector workers with similar levels of education and experience. A study by the Congressional Budget Office, using slightly different methods, showed a smaller wage premium for federal workers, but still reached a qualitatively similar conclusion: Federal workers receive pay and benefits 16 percent above private-sector levels.
Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) allows Biggs to compare how U.S. federal government employees are paid relative to central government employees in 18 other countries.
The OECD analyzed the salaries, benefits and paid leave for government employees; the combined value of these three categories equals total compensation. The OECD looked at four main categories of public employees:
The key factor is benefits:
Source: Andrew G. Biggs, “We’re No. 1 — In Public-Employee Pay,” National Review, August 12, 2013.