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Coughs and sneezes spread diseases: An empirical study of absenteeism and infectious illness

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  • Barmby, Tim
  • Larguem, Makram

Abstract

This paper incorporates some theoretical ideas from the study of the epidemiology of infectious illness into a model of worker absence. The paper then seeks to quantify such infection effects by examining a personnel dataset which allows us to track daily absence decisions of a group of industrial workers employed in the same factory. We find significant effects of our measure of sickness in the (rest of the) workforce on the absence probabilities of individual workers, and offer a suggestion on how this might be used by managers to gauge the extent of illness transmission within the workplace.

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  • Barmby, Tim & Larguem, Makram, 2009. "Coughs and sneezes spread diseases: An empirical study of absenteeism and infectious illness," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 1012-1017, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:5:p:1012-1017
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dunn, L F & Youngblood, Stuart A, 1986. "Absenteeism as a Mechanism for Approaching an Optimal Labor Market Equilibrium: An Empirical Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 668-674, November.
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    3. Barmby, Tim & Orme, Chris & Treble, John, 1995. "Worker absence histories: a panel data study," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 53-65, March.
    4. Barmby, Tim, 2002. "Worker absenteeism: a discrete hazard model with bivariate heterogeneity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-476, September.
    5. 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.
    6. Barmby, Tim, 1998. "The Relationship between Even History and Discrete Time Duration Models: An Application to the Analysis of Personnel Absenteeism," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(2), pages 261-265, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Slusky, David J.G. & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 2021. "Sunlight and Protection Against Influenza," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C).
    2. Stefan Pichler & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2015. "The Pros and Cons of Sick Pay Schemes: Testing for Contagious Presenteeism and Shirking Behavior," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1509, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Hernæs, Øystein, 2018. "Activation against absenteeism – Evidence from a sickness insurance reform in Norway," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 60-68.
    4. Michele Valsecchi & Ruben Durante, 2020. "Internal migration and the spread of Covid-19," Working Papers w0276, New Economic School (NES).
    5. Boris HirschBy & Daniel S. J. Lechmann & Claus Schnabel, 2017. "Coming to work while sick: an economic theory of presenteeism with an application to German data," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 1010-1031.
    6. Marc Suhrcke & David Stuckler & Jonathan E Suk & Monica Desai & Michaela Senek & Martin McKee & Svetla Tsolova & Sanjay Basu & Ibrahim Abubakar & Paul Hunter & Boika Rechel & Jan C Semenza, 2011. "The Impact of Economic Crises on Communicable Disease Transmission and Control: A Systematic Review of the Evidence," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 6(6), pages 1-12, June.
    7. Pichler, Stefan & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2015. "The Pros and Cons of Sick Pay Schemes: A Method to Test for Contagious Presenteeism and Shirking Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 8850, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Veliziotis, Michail, 2010. "Unionization and sickness absence from work in the UK," ISER Working Paper Series 2010-15, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    9. Daniel Arnold, 2016. "Determinants of the Annual Duration of Sickness Presenteeism: Empirical Evidence from European Data," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 30(2), pages 198-212, June.
    10. Yun Qiu & Xi Chen & Wei Shi, 2020. "Impacts of social and economic factors on the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in China," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(4), pages 1127-1172, October.
    11. Corey White, 2018. "Measuring the Social and Externality Benefits of Influenza Vaccination," Working Papers 1803, California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics.
    12. René Böheim & Thomas Leoni, 2020. "Do Employees’ Sickness Absences React to a Change in Costs for Firms? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 122(2), pages 553-581, April.
    13. Nicolas R. Ziebarth & Martin Karlsson, 2014. "The Effects Of Expanding The Generosity Of The Statutory Sickness Insurance System," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2), pages 208-230, March.
    14. René Böheim & Thomas Leoni, 2014. "Firms' Sickness Costs and Workers' Sickness Absences," NBER Working Papers 20305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Stefan Pichler, 2015. "Sickness Absence, Moral Hazard, and the Business Cycle," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(6), pages 692-710, June.
    16. Stefan Pichler & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2020. "Labor Market Effects of U.S. Sick Pay Mandates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(2), pages 611-659.
    17. Ján Palguta & Levínský, René & Škoda, Samuel, 2021. "Do Elections Accelerate the COVID-19 Pandemic? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," GLO Discussion Paper Series 891, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    18. Sylvie Hamon-Cholet & Joseph Lanfranchi, 2019. "Le présentéisme au travail. Mieux évaluer pour mieux prévenir," Working Papers halshs-02170962, HAL.
    19. Pichler, Stefan & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "The pros and cons of sick pay schemes: Testing for contagious presenteeism and noncontagious absenteeism behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 14-33.
    20. Barmby, Tim & Sessions, John G. & Zangelidis, Alexandros, 2016. "Looking after number two? Competition, cooperation and workplace interaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 166-182.
    21. Gonzalo Castex & Evgenia Dechter & Miguel Lorca, 2021. "COVID-19: The impact of social distancing policies, cross-country analysis," Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 135-159, April.
    22. Arnold, Daniel Timo & de Pinto, Marco, 2015. "Sickness absence, presenteeism and work-related characteristics," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113118, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    23. Joanna Wyrobek, 2020. "The Use of Decision Trees for Analysis of the Potential Determinants for the Incidence of Deaths and Cases of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Different Countries," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(Special 3), pages 556-566.
    24. Pichler, Stefan & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2019. "Reprint of: The pros and cons of sick pay schemes: Testing for contagious presenteeism and noncontagious absenteeism behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 86-104.

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    Keywords

    Absence Infectious illness;

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