New Study: Wisconsin after Act 10 - how public employees & private workers salaries & benefits compare

In a new American Enterprise Institute (AEI) study on public employee pay in Wisconsin, AEI resident scholar Andrew G. Biggs and Jason Richwine, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, compare the salaries and benefits received by state and local government employees in Wisconsin to those received by private sector workers with similar education and experience.

They find that:

  • Fringe benefits: after Act 10 (Wisconsin's collective bargaining law), Wisconsin state workers receive health benefits more than twice as valuable and pension benefits more than 4.5 times as valuable as what workers in large private firms receive.
  •  
  • Total compensation (salary plus benefits): before Act 10, Wisconsin state employees received total compensation (salary plus benefits) about 28 percent higher than comparable private sector workers. After Act 10, public employee compensation is about 22 percent higher.
  •  
  • In dollar terms, the average Wisconsin state worker after Act 10 receives total compensation including benefits of $81,637 approximately versus $67,068 for a similarly-skilled private worker -- a difference of $14,569.


The study is available here.

Andrew Biggs
is available for interviews and may be reached at andrew.biggs@aei.org or 202.862.5841.

For additional help or for other media inquiries, please contact Veronique Rodman at vrodman@aei.org or 202.862.4871.

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About the Author

 

Andrew G.
Biggs
  • Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Social Security reform, state and local government pensions, and public sector pay and benefits.

    Before joining AEI, Biggs was the principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), where he oversaw SSA’s policy research efforts. In 2005, as an associate director of the White House National Economic Council, he worked on Social Security reform. In 2001, he joined the staff of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Biggs has been interviewed on radio and television as an expert on retirement issues and on public vs. private sector compensation. He has published widely in academic publications as well as in daily newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has also testified before Congress on numerous occasions. In 2013, the Society of Actuaries appointed Biggs co-vice chair of a blue ribbon panel tasked with analyzing the causes of underfunding in public pension plans and how governments can securely fund plans in the future.

    Biggs holds a bachelor’s degree from Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland, master’s degrees from Cambridge University and the University of London, and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

  • Phone: 202-862-5841
    Email: andrew.biggs@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Kelly Funderburk
    Phone: 202-862-5920
    Email: kelly.funderburk@aei.org

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