NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Fiscal Institutions and Public Sector Labor Markets

James M. Poterba, Kim S. Rueben

NBER Working Paper No. 6659
Issued in July 1998
NBER Program(s):   PE

This paper investigates how state and local fiscal institutions affect the pattern of relative wages between state and local government employees and their private sector counterparts. It focuses on changes in relative wages during the 1979-1986 period. Empirical analysis of data from the Current Population Survey suggests that in places with limitations on local property taxes, and to a lesser extent state-level tax and expenditure caps, public sector wages grew more slowly than the wages paid to comparable workers in the private sector. The differential movement of public sector and private sector wages is particularly pronounced for college-educated women who work in the local public sector. Many of these employees are public school teachers. There is some evidence that the impact of fiscal limits is most pronounced in the years immediately following their adoption, and that the effect of these limits weakens over time.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6659

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