NBER

Congshan Zhang

Department of Economics
Duke University
213 Social Sciences Bldg
419 Chapel Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0097

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Institutional Affiliation: Duke University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2018Are Recessions Good for Government Hires? The Effect of Unemployment on Public Sector Human Capital
with John M. de Figueiredo: w24538
Utilizing a large dataset on U.S. federal government employees covering 24 years, we estimate and analyze the persistent wage effect of entering government employment during recessions for recent college graduates and other new employees. Contrary to previous results in the literature for private sector employees, we document a significant and long-term wage increase for federal civil servants who enter government service in recessions. We show this result is robust to alternative samples and model specifications. We conclude by examining agency occupation composition and job matching as mechanisms for these results.

Published: Zhang, Congshang, and John M. de Figueiredo (2018). “Are Recessions Good for Government Hires? The Effect of Unemployment on Public Sector Human Capital,” Economics Letters 170: 1-5.

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