Examining Federal Pay: A Reponse to OPM Director John Berry

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We were disappointed when OPM Director John Berry made grossly inaccurate statements about our federal-private pay comparisons during a Congressional hearing. He claimed that our analyses do not account for differences in education levels between federal and public employees. Not only are education controls central to our analyses, but OPM's own pay study controls for neither educations nor any other worker characteristic.

Now we are just disappointed to read OPM's official response to our reports. Rather than engaging us in a discussion about federal pay reform, OPM has weakly attempted to "debunk" our research.

OPM's Response:

  • Levels several either invalid or unimportant charges against our wage analyses, a reaction akin to throwing mud against a wall to see how much will stick;
  • Barely addresses benefits, which are responsible for much of the federal compensation premium;
  • Does not address the fact that federal workers rarely voluntarily quit, indicating they believe they get better compensation in the government than outside it, and;
  • Ignores our detailed critique of OPM's own methodology.
Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at AEI. Jason Richwine and James Sherk are senior policy analysts at the Heritage Foundation.

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