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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