The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper uses a simple model to analyze the forces that determine the size of the public sector and the quality of workers employed in that sector. Workers are heterogeneous, and the public sector chooses an employment strategy that maximizes a social welfare function U(s, Y) that depends on the share of the labor force employed in public service s and private sector output Y. The government is fully informed about worker productivity. By examining the welfare properties of the possible outcomes, we are able to illuminate situations in which policies that seek to constrain the public sector may or may not improve economic efficiency.