Public Sector Wages in Alberta: How do these Compare to Other Provinces and to the Private Sector?

  • Richard Mueller University of Lethbridge


We use a variety of methodologies to address how the public-private sector wage premium in Alberta compares to those of other provinces, how these differ by type and level of public sector employment (e.g., federal, local, etc.), by the location in the overall wage distribution, and if the wage premium in this sector varies over the business cycle. We find a great deal of heterogeneity in the public sector wages premium by province and type of public sector employment. While estimates do differ, generally the premium in Alberta is among the lowest in Canada, tends to be higher for local and provincial employees, is higher at the lower tail of the wage distribution, and is inversely related to the Alberta business cycle. The estimates suggest significant savings to the Alberta government are possible, but that across-the-board cuts to Alberta employee compensation could have negative implications for the provision of public services.

Research Papers