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Unemployment, Labour Force Composition and Sickness Absence: A Panel Data Study

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Author Info

  • Askildsen, Jan Erik

    ()
    (University of Bergen)

  • Bratberg, Espen

    ()
    (University of Bergen)

  • Nilsen, Øivind Anti

    ()
    (Norwegian School of Economics)

Abstract

Sickness absence tends to be negatively correlated with unemployment. This may suggest disciplining effects of unemployment but may also reflect changes in the composition of the labour force. A panel of Norwegian register data for the years 1990-1995 is used to analyse sickness absences lasting more than two weeks. We estimate fixed effects models of the probability of absence and the number of days on sick leave conditional on absence. The county unemployment rate is found to affect the probability of absence negatively. When restricting the sample to workers who are present in the whole sample period, the negative relationship between absence and unemployment remains. The evidence on duration goes in the same direction. This indicates that the revealed procyclical variation in sickness absence is not driven by changes in the composition of the labour force.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 466.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Health Economics, 2005, 14 (11), 1087-1101
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp466

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Keywords: panel data; unemployment; sickness absence;

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  1. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
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  3. McGuire, Thomas G., 2000. "Physician agency," Handbook of Health Economics, Elsevier, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 461-536 Elsevier.
  4. Arai, Mahmood & Skogman Thoursie, Peter, 2001. "Incentives and Selection in Cyclical Absenteeism," Working Paper Series, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research 167, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
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  6. Boone, Jan & van Ours, Jan C., 2002. "Cyclical Fluctuations in Workplace Accidents," IZA Discussion Papers 627, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Thalmaier, Anja, 1999. "Bestimmungsgründe von Fehlzeiten: Welche Rolle spielt die Arbeitslosigkeit?," IZA Discussion Papers 62, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Allen, Steven G, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Work Attendance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 77-87, February.
  9. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  10. Solveig Osborg Ose & Jan Morten Dyrstad, 2001. "Non-linear Unemployment Effects in Sickness Absence: Discipline or Composition Effects?," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology 2502, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  11. Johansson, Per & Palme, Marten, 1996. "Do economic incentives affect work absence? Empirical evidence using Swedish micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 195-218, February.
  12. Kenyon, Peter & Dawkins, Peter, 1989. "A Time Series Analysis of Labour Absence in Australia," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 232-39, May.
  13. Leigh, J. Paul, 1985. "The effects of unemployment and the business cycle on absenteeism," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 159-170, May.
  14. Barmby, Tim & Sessions, John G & Treble, John G, 1994. " Absenteeism, Efficiency Wages and Shirking," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(4), pages 561-66.
  15. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2000. "Chapter 34 Equity in health care finance and delivery," Handbook of Health Economics, Elsevier, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 34, pages 1803-1862 Elsevier.
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