Mandel and Keyens

Jeffrey Levin jlevin at
Sat Sep 19 12:39:37 PDT 1998

Government jobs differ from private sector jobs in ways that go beyond mere wage differences, and people DO take these into account when considering a move from public sector to private sector, or vice versa.

Government jobs are generally FAR more secure, since they usually have civil service protections. Benefit packages are often far better for the average worker, along with relatively good vacation, holiday and sick leave provisions. On the other hand, opportunities for advancement are more restricted.

If the government were to drastically expand programs purely to increase employment (hard to imagine these days), these jobs may or may not fall under the same rules. There is also no reason to believe that an effort to directly increase employment would look the same as the public works programs of the New Deal. Rather than increasing direct employment, we might see programs that provide subsidies to private companies or non-profit agencies to increase hiring there, which might deflect some criticism about government competing with the private sector.

Jeffrey Levin <jlevin at>

-----Original Message----- From: Max Sawicky <sawicky at> To: lbo-talk at <lbo-talk at> Date: Saturday, September 19, 1998 12:10 PM Subject: RE: Mandel and Keyens

>> Doug,
>> 6. Since the govt is only to trying to supplement, not supplant, private
>> intiative, it can't offer wages which would motivate workers to leave the
>> private sector, bid wages up, compound profitability difficulties there,
>> and thus reduce private initiative. In order not to set this chain off,
>> mustn't the govt thus offer low to slave wages in its employment
>> generating programs? If we look closely at FDR's progams, isn't that what
>> we find? . . .
>On average public sector jobs pay more than private
>sector, though this premium reduces drastically if
>one compares similar jobs, rather than glossing over
>the difference between police officers and retail
>clerks. In general, government pay is competitive
>without being destabilizing. An exception is welfare
>related programs, where the pay is below standard
>for either public or private jobs. Another is prison
>based work. These jobs are very much the exception
>as far as the public sector goes.

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