Public Sector Pay in Finland
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This study analyses the forces determining public and private sector pay in Finland. The data used is a 7 per cent sample taken from the Finnish 2001 census. It contains information on 42 680 male workers, of which 8 759 are employed in public and 33 921 in the private sector. The study documents and describes data by education, occupation and industry. We estimate earnings equations for the whole sample as well as for four industries (construction, real estate, transportation and health) that provide an adequate mix of both public and sector workers. The results suggest that the private-public sector pay gap of about one per cent can be accounted for by differences in observable characteristics between the sectors (3.4 per cent) and lower returns from these characteristics (-2.3 per cent). However, the industry-level analysis indicates that the earnings gaps vary across industries, and are negative in some cases. These inter-industry differences in public-private gaps persist even when the usual controls are introduced. This suggests that public sector wage setters need greater local flexibility, which should result in less uniform wages within the public sector.