This new paper responds to the recent CSO study and also tackles several new dimensions of this question.
This paper provides a sub-sectoral analysis of changes in the public-private sector pay gap in Ireland between 2003 and 2006. We find that between March 2003 and October 2006 the public sector pay premium increased from 14 to 26 per cent and that there was substantial variation between subsectors of the public service. Within the public service the premium in 2006 was highest in Education and Security Services and lowest in the Civil Service and Local Authorities. In the private sector the pay penalty in 2006, relative to the public sector, was most severe in Hotels & Restaurants and in Wholesale & Retail and least severe in Financial Intermediation and Construction. The paper tests for the sensitivity of the pay gap estimates using a matching framework, which provides a stronger emphasis on job content, and finds the results to be broadly comparable to OLS. Finally, the study highlights the problems associated with controlling for organisational size in any study of the public-private pay gap in Ireland.