Right-Sizing the Federal Workforce

Chairman Ross, Ranking Member Lynch, and Members of the Committee. Thank you for granting me the opportunity to discuss the size of the federal workforce and efforts to right-size federal employment going into the future.

A score of academic studies have confirmed that individual federal employees receive significantly higher salaries than private sector workers with similar education and experience. My own work with Jason Richwine of the Heritage Foundation has extended the analysis to benefits and job security - including benefits, the federal pay premium reaches 35 percent, and adding the value of better federal job security raises the premium to 54 percent.

However, much less is known regarding the appropriate size of the federal workforce. Do federal agencies carry larger staffs than similar private entities? Is the U.S. government workforce large relative to that of our economic competitors? These questions are more difficult than assessing the pay of individual workers and far less research has been done in these areas.

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Andrew Biggs is a resident scholar at AEI.

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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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