IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Timing matters: worker absenteeism in a weekly backward rotating shift model


  • Bernd Frick

    (Paderborn University)

  • Robert Simmons

    (Lancaster University Management School)

  • Friedrich Stein

    (Mobile Life Campus, Volkswagen AG)


Objectives We analyze the impact of the positioning of shifts (morning, afternoon, night) on worker absenteeism in a large German automobile plant. Methods Using a completely balanced panel of 153 organizational units over the 2-year-period 2009 to 2010 (i.e. 104 consecutive weeks with 15,912 unit-week-observations) we estimate a series of GLM and Fixed Effects models. Results Our main finding is that during afternoon shifts absence rates are significantly higher than during either morning or night shifts and that absence rates are particularly high during the afternoon shift immediately following the 3 weeks of consecutive night shifts. We attribute our first finding to the “social opportunity costs” of working and the second one to a “tax evasion effect”. Conclusions When designing new shift models, firms should try to anticipate their workers’ reaction to avoid unintended incentives.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernd Frick & Robert Simmons & Friedrich Stein, 2020. "Timing matters: worker absenteeism in a weekly backward rotating shift model," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 21(9), pages 1399-1410, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eujhec:v:21:y:2020:i:9:d:10.1007_s10198-020-01232-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s10198-020-01232-6

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
    2. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2011. "Field Experiments with Firms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 63-82, Summer.
    3. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
    4. Nicholas Bloom & Benn Eifert & Aprajit Mahajan & David McKenzie & John Roberts, 2013. "Does Management Matter? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 1-51.
    5. Böckerman, Petri & Bryson, Alex & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2012. "Does high involvement management improve worker wellbeing?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 660-680.
    6. Papke, Leslie E. & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2008. "Panel data methods for fractional response variables with an application to test pass rates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 121-133, July.
    7. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-632, Nov.-Dec..
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Chris Sampson’s journal round-up for 9th November 2020
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2020-11-09 12:00:00

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Justin M. Rao & Andrey Simonov, 2019. "Firms’ reactions to public information on business practices: The case of search advertising," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 105-134, June.
    2. Petri Böckerman & Alex Bryson & Pekka Ilmakunnas, 2013. "Does high involvement management lead to higher pay?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 176(4), pages 861-885, October.
    3. Van Reenen, John & Bloom, Nicholas & Iacovone, Leonardo & Pereira-Lopez, Mariana, 2022. "Management and Misallocation in Mexico," CEPR Discussion Papers 16979, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Balazs Reizer, 2016. "Do Firms Pay Bonuses to Protect Jobs?," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 1612, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    5. Guido Friebel & Matthias Heinz & Mitchell Hoffman & Nick Zubanov, 2023. "What Do Employee Referral Programs Do? Measuring the Direct and Overall Effects of a Management Practice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 131(3), pages 633-686.
    6. Ashraf, Nava & Bandiera, Oriana & Jack, B. Kelsey, 2014. "No margin, no mission? A field experiment on incentives for public service delivery," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 1-17.
    7. Paweł Doligalski & Abdoulaye Ndiaye & Nicolas Werquin, 2023. "Redistribution with Performance Pay," Journal of Political Economy Macroeconomics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 371-402.
    8. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2011. "Field Experiments with Firms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 63-82, Summer.
    9. Jason J Sandvik & Richard E Saouma & Nathan T Seegert & Christopher T Stanton, 2020. "Workplace Knowledge Flows," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(3), pages 1635-1680.
    10. Theresa Chaudhry & Zunia Tirmazee & Umair Ayaz, 2023. "Experimental Evidence on Group-based Attendance Bonuses in Team Production," Journal of South Asian Development, , vol. 18(1), pages 90-110, April.
    11. Bloom, Nicholas & Van Reenen, John, 2011. "Human Resource Management and Productivity," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 19, pages 1697-1767, Elsevier.
    12. Andreas Menzel, 2017. "Knowledge Exchange and Productivity Spill-overs in Bangladeshi Garment Factories," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp607, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    13. Koelling Arnd, 2017. "Labor Demand and Unequal Payments: Does Wage Dispersion Matter? Using German Employer-Employee Data to Analyze the Influence of Intra-Firm Wage Inequality on Labor Demand," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 68(1), pages 1-39, April.
    14. Balázs Reizer, 2015. "Do Firms Pay Bonuses to Protect Jobs?," CEU Working Papers 2015_6, Department of Economics, Central European University.
    15. Theresa Thompson Chaudhry & Mahvish Faran, 2015. "Organization, Management, and Wage Practices in Pakistan’s Electrical Fan and Readymade Garment Sectors," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 20(Special E), pages 183-204, September.
    16. Manthei, Kathrin & Sliwka, Dirk & Vogelsang, Timo, 2021. "Information Provision, Incentives, and Attention: A Field Experiment on Facilitating and Influencing Managers' Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 14199, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Ali, Abdilahi & Ali, Syed Imran, 2020. "Antecedents of the propensity to learn management practices and their impacts on firm outcomes in emerging markets: A Bayesian Model Averaging approach," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4).
    18. Jin, Zhangfeng & Pan, Shiyuan, 2020. "Incentive Pay and Firm Productivity: Evidence from China," GLO Discussion Paper Series 479, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    19. Bernd J. Frick & Ute Goetzen & Robert Simmons, 2013. "The Hidden Costs of High-Performance Work Practices: Evidence from a Large German Steel Company," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 66(1), pages 198-224, January.
    20. Alessandro Barattieri & Matteo Cacciatore, 2023. "Self-Harming Trade Policy? Protectionism and Production Networks," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 97-128, April.

    More about this item


    Shiftwork; Absenteeism; Pay premium; Tax incentives;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:eujhec:v:21:y:2020:i:9:d:10.1007_s10198-020-01232-6. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.