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.
We quantify the extent to which public-sector employment crowds out private-sector employment using specially assembled datasets for a large cross-section of developing and advanced countries, and discuss the implications for countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Caucasus and Central Asia. These countries simultaneously display high unemployment rates, low private-sector employment rates and high proportions of government-sector employment. Regressions of either private-sector employment rates or unemployment rates on two measures of public-sector employment point to full crowding out. This means that high rates of public employment, which incur substantial fiscal costs, have a large negative impact on private employment rates and do not reduce overall unemployment rates.