Remember a while back, during the Wisconsin governor Walker fiasco, the debate that raged regarding government workers and their wages with respect to private sector workers? You had right wing economists arguing that federal workers were indeed overpaid and left wing economists arguing the opposite. An honest observer might have found it difficult to know who was right.
Well now, the CBO has weighed in on the topic and has come down on the side of right wing economists:
Differences in total compensation—the sum of wages and benefits—between federal and private-sector employees also varied according to workers’ education level.
Federal civilian employees with no more than a high school education averaged 36 percent higher total compensation than similar private-sector employees.
Federal workers whose education culminated in a bachelor’s degree averaged 15 percent higher total compensation than their private-sector counterparts.
Federal employees with a professional degree or doctorate received 18 percent lower total compensation than their private-sector counterparts, on average.
Overall, the federal government paid 16 percent more in total compensation than it would have if average compensation had been comparable with that in the private sector, after accounting for certain observable characteristics of workers.