CBO Confirms AEI Report: Federal Workers Overpaid

A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study finds that federal government employees receive significantly higher compensation than private sector workers with the same levels of education and experience. The CBO report confirms the conclusions of AEI economist Andrew Biggs's 2010 study, and helps rebut claims that federal workers are underpaid.

Specifically, CBO found that federal employees receive:

  • Average salaries that are about 2 percent higher than those for similar private sector employees.

  • Average federal benefits that exceed private sector levels by 48 percent

  • A total average federal compensation which is 16 percent above private sector levels

CBO's methods are broadly consistent with those used in Biggs's 2011 AEI study, and serve as a valuable contrast to figures generated by the federal Office of Personnel Management which claims that federal employees make 26 percent less than workers in the private sector.

Andrew Biggs previously served as the principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration where he oversaw the agency's policy research efforts and was also the associate director of the National Economic Council at the White House. He can be reached at andrew.biggs@aei.org or through his assistant Rohan Poojara at rohan.poojara@aei.org (202.862.5852).

For help reaching any AEI scholars and for all other media requests, please contact Jesse Blumenthal at jesse.blumenthal@aei.org (202.862.4870).

AEI's in-house ReadyCam TV studio may be booked by calling VideoLink at 617.340.4300. For radio interviews, please e-mail jesse.blumenthal@aei.org to reserve AEI's ISDN facilities.

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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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