The debate over whether public employees are overpaid relative to their private-sector counterparts breaks down, as usual, along partisan lines. Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic does his best to defend public workers' seemingly inflated wages. AEI's Andrew Biggs responds briefly, delving into some of the reasons to believe that an apples-to-apples comparison shows that we're paying too much to public-sector union workers. Biggs, along with Jason Richwine, has a much more comprehensive review of the situation in the upcoming October issue of the Spectator.
While I think Biggs has taken into account all the major considerations in making the call about whether or not public employees are making too much, Steven Landsburg has found a way to cut through the fog in this blog post:
How can we ever be sure we've counted everything important? We can't.... 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?
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