The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which individual characteristics are related to the decision to become a public sector employee using twin study data matched with register-based, individual-level panel data for the 1991-2009 period.
The probability of public sector entry is examined using fixed effects logit regression to control for shared environmental and genetic factors.
The results show that unobserved factors partially explain the well-documented relationships between many individual characteristics and public sector employment choice. However, the results also show that highly educated and more extraverted individuals are more likely to enter public sector employment, even when both shared environmental and genetic factors are controlled for. Workers also tend to exit the private sector to enter the public sector at lower wage levels.
The twin design used in this paper represents a contribution to the existing literature. This paper is also the first to examine the probability of entry into the public sector instead of comparing public sector workers with private sector workers.
The author would like to thank Thomas Lange (The Associate Editor), two anonymous referees and Petri Böckerman for useful comments. The authors would also like to thank Jaakko Kaprio for access to the twin data. This work is funded by the Academy of Finland (No. 127796) and the Finnish Cultural Foundation (No. 00130558).
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