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Do workers underreport morbidity? The accuracy of self-reports of chronic conditions

  • Datta Gupta, Nabanita
  • Jürges, Hendrik

We use matched Danish health survey and register data to investigate discrepancies between register-based diagnoses and self-reported morbidity. We hypothesize that false negatives (medical diagnoses existing in the register but not reported in the survey) arise partly because individuals fear career repercussions of being discovered suffering a chronic or severe illness that potentially lowers productivity. We find evidence of substantial underreporting, which is indeed systematically higher for individuals in the labor market.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
Pages: 1589-1594

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:9:p:1589-1594
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  1. Munir, F. & Leka, S. & Griffiths, A., 2005. "Dealing with self-management of chronic illness at work: predictors for self-disclosure," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(6), pages 1397-1407, March.
  2. Gunasekara, Fiona Imlach & Carter, Kristie & Blakely, Tony, 2012. "Comparing self-rated health and self-assessed change in health in a longitudinal survey: Which is more valid?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(7), pages 1117-1124.
  3. Currie, Janet & Madrian, Brigitte C., 1999. "Health, health insurance and the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 50, pages 3309-3416 Elsevier.
  4. John Bound, 1991. "Self-Reported Versus Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 106-138.
  5. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur Van Soest, 2009. "Work Disability, Work, and Justification Bias in Europe and the U.S," Working Papers 696, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  6. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Slemrod, Joel, 2005. "The Economics of Workaholism: We Should Not Have Worked on This Paper," IZA Discussion Papers 1680, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Michael Baker & Mark Stabile & Catherine Deri, 2004. "What Do Self-Reported, Objective, Measures of Health Measure?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
  8. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
  9. Butler, J S, et al, 1987. "Measurement Error in Self-reported Health Variables," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 644-50, November.
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