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Trade Union Membership and Sickness Absence: Evidence from a Sick Pay Reform

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  • Laszlo Goerke
  • Markus Pannenberg

Abstract

In 1996, statutory sick pay was reduced for private sector workers in Germany. Using the empirical observation that trade union members are dismissed less often than non-members, we construct a model to predict how absence behaviour will respond to the sick pay reform. We show that union members may have stronger incentives to be absent and to react to the cut in sick pay. In the empirical investigation, we find a positive relationship between trade union membership and absence due to sickness and observe more pronounced reactions to the cut in sick pay among union members than among non-members. These findings suggest that more flexibility in the use of paid absence due to sickness constitutes a private gain from trade union membership.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3909.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3909

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Keywords: difference-in-differences; sickness-related absence; Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP); statutory sick pay; trade union membership;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2009. "Long-Term Absenteeism and Moral Hazard: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 888, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Uwe Jirjahn, 2013. "Der Beitrag der Arbeitsmarktökonomik zur Erforschung von Gewerkschaften und Tarifvertragsbeziehungen in Deutschland," Research Papers in Economics 2013-03, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
  3. Ziebarth N & Karlsson M, 2009. "The effects of expanding the generosity of the statutory sickness insurance system," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York 09/35, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.

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