I rarely post in the middle of the day, but this seems to call for an immediate response:
Paul Krugman, feisty as ever, scoffs at the claim that public-sector employees are overcompensated. True, salaries are 13% higher in the public sector. But, says, Krugman, you’ve got to correct for the fact that public employees are (on average) better educated. After the correction, those public servants earn 4% less than the rest of us.
Well, Krugman is certainly right that you can’t take the raw data at face value. But, at least if you’re trying to be honest, you don’t get to pick and choose what you correct for either. Sure, let’s correct for education levels. Let’s also correct for the fact that public sector employees work fewer hours per week. And for differences in pension plans, and job security, and working conditions.
How can we ever be sure we’ve counted everything important? We can’t, as long as we do it Krugman’s way. So let’s do something sensible instead. Let’s look at quit rates. Quit rates in the public sector are about one third what they are elsewhere. In other words, government employees sure do seem to like holding on to their jobs. More than just about anyone else, in fact. Doesn’t that tell us everything we need to know about who’s overcompensated?