From public to private: the performance of former public workers in the Brazilian labor market

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This paper analyzes the placement in the private sector of a subset of Brazilian public-sector employees. This group left public employment in the mid-1990’s through a voluntary severance program. This paper contrasts their earnings before and after quitting the public sector, and compares both sets of wages to public and private sector earnings for similar workers. We find that participants in this voluntary severance program suffered a significant reduction in average earnings wage and an increase in earnings dispersion. We test whether the reduction in average earnings and the increase in earnings dispersion is the expected outcome once one controls for observed characteristics, by means of counterfactual simulations. Several methods of controlling for observed characteristics (parametric and non-parametrically) are used for robustness. The results indicate that this group of workers was paid at levels below what would be expected given their embodied observable characteristics.

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