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

  • Barmby, Tim
  • Larguem, Makram

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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 1012-1017

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:5:p:1012-1017
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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 668-74, November.
  2. 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 261-65, May.
  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. 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.
  5. Barmby, Tim, 2002. "Worker absenteeism: a discrete hazard model with bivariate heterogeneity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-476, September.
  6. Tomas Philipson, 1999. "Economic Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases," NBER Working Papers 7037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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