The Federal-Private Wage Differential: How Has It Evolved

Sun-Ki Choi & John Garen

We find that federal workers were consistently paid more than comparable private-sector workers throughout the 1995 to 2017 time period. Moreover, federal works had higher pension and health insurance coverage. For 2017, we estimate that federal workers were paid 12.5% more. If policymakers were able to save 12.5% on federal worker compensation, this translates into roughly $35 billion; approximately the same as the entire budget of the Department of Justice or Department of State.

Published: February, 2019

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