Should Congress refreeze federal worker pay?

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will consider a bill to partially refreeze federal employees pay--overriding an executive order issued late last year by President Obama that ended the pay freeze.

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) economist Andrew Biggs offers the following research to consider:

1. Underpaid? The claim that federal employees are underpaid by more than 20% versus private sector workers are highly misleading, ignoring both fringe benefits and the relative skills of federal and private workers. (link)

2.  Higher Salaries and Benefits: Most independent analyses of federal employee pay – including from AEI and the Congressional Budget Office – find that federal employees receive higher salaries and benefits and similar private sector workers.

3.  Go Private, Get Less: Most federal workers who leave for private sector jobs don’t get a pay increase – they accept a salary cut. (link)

4.  Salaries Rising: Since 2007 federal employee salaries have risen by an average of 15%, while private sector salaries have risen by only 10%. The idea that federal workers are falling behind the private sector isn’t correct. (link)

Andrew Biggs has written extensively on public sector compensation and is available for interviews. Please contact mediaservices@aei.org or 202.862.5829

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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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