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Being on Sick Leave: Possible Explanations for Differences of Sick-leave Days Across Countries

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  • Rigmar Osterkamp
  • Oliver Röhn

Abstract

Sick-leave days differ widely among industrialised countries. For the US it is 5, for Sweden 20 and for Poland 26 days per year and per employee. The possible causes for these differences have apparently not been systematically analysed. Two groups of contributing factors are considered: (i) objective causes, like the general health situation, employment of women and older persons, and (ii) behavioural reactions (a) to macroeconomic conditions, like unemployment or the possibility to work outside the official labour market, and (b) to the design of institutions, like the generosity of granting sick leave or the strictness of employment protection. On the basis of a panel for 20 countries and for the years 1996--2002, it is econometrically shown that the main explanatory factors are the generosity of granting sick leave, the strictness of employment protection and the employment of older persons. The unemployment rate and the employment of women--contrary to the result of some single-country studies--do not contribute to the explanation of sick-leave differences between countries. (JEL classification: I12, I18) Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Rigmar Osterkamp & Oliver Röhn, 2007. "Being on Sick Leave: Possible Explanations for Differences of Sick-leave Days Across Countries," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 53(1), pages 97-114, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:53:y:2007:i:1:p:97-114
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cesifo/ifm005
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    Cited by:

    1. Sjöberg, Ola, 2017. "Positive welfare state dynamics? Sickness benefits and sickness absence in Europe 1997–2011," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 158-168.
    2. Daniel S. J. Lechmann & Claus Schnabel, 2014. "Absence from Work of the Self-Employed: A Comparison with Paid Employees," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 368-390, August.
    3. Edmundo Beteta & Manuel Willington, 2009. "Planes Mínimos Obligatorios en Mercados de Seguros de Salud Segmentados," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 36(2 Year 20), pages 217-241, December.
    4. Christian Pfeifer, 2015. "Effective working hours and wages: the case of downward adjustment via paid absenteeism," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(1), pages 612-626.
    5. Konstantinos, Pouliakas & Ioannis, Theodossiou, 2010. "An Inquiry Into the Theory, Causes and Consequences of Monitoring Indicators of Health and Safety At Work," MPRA Paper 20336, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. René Böheim & Thomas Leoni, 2014. "Firms' Sickness Costs and Workers' Sickness Absences," NBER Working Papers 20305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Higgins, Angela & Porter, Sam & O'Halloran, Peter, 2014. "General practitioners' management of the long-term sick role," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 52-60.
    8. Catherine Pollak, 2017. "The impact of a sick pay waiting period on sick leave patterns," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 18(1), pages 13-31, January.
    9. Pfeifer Christian, 2010. "Work Effort During and After Employment Probation: Evidence from German Personnel Data," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 230(1), pages 77-91, February.
    10. Harald Pfeifer, 2014. "Absenteeism in Apprenticeships: What Role Do Works Councils Play?," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0098, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Aug 2015.
    11. Sabine Chaupain-Guillot & Olivier Guillot, 2010. "Les déterminants individuels des absences au travail : une comparaison européenne," Working Papers of BETA 2010-17, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    12. Pfeifer, Christian & Sohr, Tatjana, 2008. "Analysing the Gender Wage Gap Using Personnel Records of a Large German Company," IZA Discussion Papers 3533, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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