A fair day's wage? Perceptions of public sector pay

Adrian Furnham, Stefan Stieger, Tanja Haubner, Martin Voracek, Viren Swami

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

1 Citation (Scopus)


There is a scarcity of evidence pertaining to the general public's perception of public sector pay. Hence, in the present study, 161 women and 149 men were asked to estimate the wages 35 public sector professions should receive annually in the fictitious nation of Maldoria, based on a comparison value of an annual income of T10,000 for general practitioners. Analysis showed that only pilots were given a higher annual income than general practitioners; miners and local government workers were also provided with relatively high annual incomes. By contrast, newscasters were provided with the lowest annual income. Participants' sex did not affect these evaluations, and other demographic variables and public sector-related information of the participants were poor predictors of their evaluations. The implications of this research on public attitudes toward wage determination are discussed, and avenues for further research highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-969
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Austria
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Opinion
  • Public Sector
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits/classification
  • Young Adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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