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Mandatory Sick Pay Provision: A Labor Market Experiment

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  • Bauernschuster, Stefan
  • Duersch, Peter
  • Oechssler, Jörg
  • Vadovic, Radovan

Abstract

Sick-pay is a common provision in labor contracts. It insures workers against a sudden loss of income due to unexpected absences and helps them smooth consumption. Therefore, many governments find sick-pay socially desirable and choose to mandate its provision. But sick-pay is not without its problems. Not only it suffers from moral hazard but more importantly it is subject to a potentially serious adverse selection problem (higher sick-pay attracts sicker workers). In this paper we report results of an experiment which inquires to the extend and the severity of the adverse selection when sick-pay is voluntary versus when it is mandatory. Theoretically, mandating sick-pay may be effective in diminishing adverse selection. However, our data provide clean evidence that counteracting effects are more salient. Mandatory sick pay exacerbates moral hazard problems by changing fairness perceptions and, as a consequence, increases sick pay provision far above the mandatory levels.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0498.

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Date of creation: 30 Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0498

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Keywords: sick pay; sick leave; experiment; gift exchange.;

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References

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  1. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
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  4. Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Jörg & Vadovic, Radovan, 2012. "Sick pay provision in experimental labor markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 1-19.
  5. Fehr, Ernst & Klein, Alexander & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2007. "Fairness and contract design," Munich Reprints in Economics 20618, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2013. "Long-term absenteeism and moral hazard—Evidence from a natural experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 277-292.
  2. Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Jörg & Vadovic, Radovan, 2012. "Sick pay provision in experimental labor markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 1-19.
  3. Charness, Gary & Du, Ninghua & Yang, Chun-Lei & Yao, Lan, 2013. "Promises in contract design," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 194-208.
  4. Filippin, A. & Crosetto, P., 2014. "A reconsideration of gender differences in risk attitudes," Working Papers 2014-01, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
  5. Gary Charness & Peter J. Kuhn, 2010. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," NBER Working Papers 15913, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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