Nº 32 (January, 2006). Rodrigo González. 

“Distribución de la prima salarial del sector público en Argentina”.

This paper measures the differences in the wage distribution for individuals working in the public and private sector in Argentina in 1993 and 2003. After analyzing a series of alternative methodologies to estimate the wage premium of the public sector, we opt for the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition since it allows estimating the existence of different returns for each relevant characteristic of wage determinants. The decomposition is applied on the mean and in ten quantiles of the conditional wage distribution. The obtained results show that the wage premium of the public sector which cannot be explained by differences in endowments of human capital is positive in 1993 and negative in 2003 for both males and females. The wage premium of the public sector is larger for females than males in 1993, a condition which is overturned in 2003. As a warning, the wage premium of the public sector proves to be sensitive to the selection of the quantile. The premium for males is inversely correlated to the conditional wage distribution, therefore showing that there is a premium in the lower quantiles and a penalization for the higher quantiles in the distribution. For females, the premium is directly related to the conditional wage distribution. In this case, higher quantiles indicate a greater relative return to the public sector.