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Sick of your colleagues' absence?

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Author Info

  • Hesselius, Patrik

    ()
    (Institute for Labour Market policy Evaluation)

  • Johansson, Per

    ()
    (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

  • Nilsson, Peter

    ()
    (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

Abstract

We utilize a large-scale randomized social experiment to identify how coworkers affect each other’s effort as measured by work absence. The experiment altered the work absence incentives for half of all employees living in Göteborg, Sweden. Using administrative data we are able to recover the treatment status of all workers in more than 3,000 workplaces. We first document that employees in workplaces with a high proportion treated co-workers increase their own absence levels significantly. We then examine the heterogeneity of the treatment effect in order to explore what mechanisms are underlying the peer effect. While a strong effect of having a high proportion of treated coworkers is found for the nontreated workers, no significant effects are found for the treated workers. These results suggest that pure altruistic social preferences can be ruled out as the main motivator for the behaviour of a nonnegligible proportion of the employees in our sample.

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File URL: http://www.ifau.se/upload/pdf/se/2009/wp09-02.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2009:2.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: 27 Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2009_002

Contact details of provider:
Postal: IFAU, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: (+46) 18 - 471 70 70
Fax: (+46) 18 - 471 70 71
Email:
Web page: http://www.ifau.se/
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Related research

Keywords: Social interactions; employer emkloyee data; work absence; fairness; reciprocal preferences;

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References

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  1. Henrekson, Magnus & Persson, Mats, 2001. "The Effects on Sick Leave of Changes in the Sickness Insurance System," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 0444, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 08 Aug 2001.
  2. Johansson, Per & Palme, Mårten, 1998. "Assessing the effect of a compulsory sickness insurance on worker absenteeism," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 287, Stockholm School of Economics.
  3. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962, August.
  4. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  5. Johansson, Per & Palme, Marten, 1996. "Do economic incentives affect work absence? Empirical evidence using Swedish micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 195-218, February.
  6. Ichino, Andrea & Maggi, Giovanni, 2000. "Work Environment And Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials In A Large Italian Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 2387, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
  8. Johansson, Per & Palme, Marten, 2005. "Moral hazard and sickness insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1879-1890, September.
  9. Kato, Takao & Shu, Pian, 2008. "Performance Spillovers and Social Network in the Workplace: Evidence from Rural and Urban Weavers in a Chinese Textile Firm," IZA Discussion Papers 3340, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Jonathan Guryan & Kory Kroft & Matt Notowidigdo, 2007. "Peer Effects in the Workplace: Evidence from Random Groupings in Professional Golf Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 13422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocitys," IEW - Working Papers 040, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  13. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  14. Hesselius, Patrik & Johansson, Per & Larsson, Laura, 2005. "Monitoring sickness insurance claimants: evidence from a social experiment," Working Paper Series 2005:15, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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