Debunking the Myth of the Over-compensated Public Employee

On October 19, Jeffrey Keefe “debunked the myth of the over-compensated public employee” at an information session held at the Learning Education Center in New Brunswick. SMLR students, alumni, and friends of the school attended the event, organized by the SMLR Alumni and Friends Association. Keefe referenced his many research studies that compare the annual wages of public and private workers in several states, including New Jersey.

Keefe offered suggestions for why public employees are often perceived to be overcompensated. He stressed that public employees earn more in benefits such as health care and pensions; therefore simple wage comparisons will not accurately capture differences in total compensation. After controlling for multiple factors including level of education, hours worked, and non-cash compensation, he found that, on average, full-time state and local employees are actually under-compensated.

In addition to his talk, Jeff Keefe has participated in several recent events, including the University of Richmond Law Conference in September and the University of Toledo Law Conference on October 21, 2011. His most recent policy papers include the February 10, 2011 study, “Are Ohio Public Employees Over-compensated?” which was published in the Economic Policy Institute. Click here to view more of Jeffrey Keefe’s research.