The Economist Agrees: People Don’t Join the Government to Get Rich

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One point we make to drive home the facts about public-sector pay is that people don’t say, “I’m leaving the private sector to go make more money.”

The Economist's Democracy in America Blog made the same observation in a recent post, Don’t join the government to get rich. "I’ve been in the labour market a long time and can’t recall ever hearing anyone say they were going to work for a government bureaucracy because they wanted to make a lot of money,” the magazine's correspondents blogged.

You don’t say! Actually, we do say. OK, we have made that point already. But apparently we can’t make it enough.

One reason low public-sector pay persists is that many public sector workers have a sense of public service mission. That’s why they join the District Attorney’s office rather than a corporate law firm. That’s why they teach math rather than write software programs that make Wall Street rich — before crashing the market.


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