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Mandatory Sick Pay Provision: A Labor Market Experiment

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  • Bauernschuster, Stefan
  • Duersch, Peter
  • Oechssler, Jörg
  • Vadovic, Radovan

Abstract

Sick-pay is a common provision in labor contracts. It insures workers against a sudden loss of income due to unexpected absences and helps them smooth consumption. Therefore, many governments find sick-pay socially desirable and choose to mandate its provision. But sick-pay is not without its problems. Not only it suffers from moral hazard but more importantly it is subject to a potentially serious adverse selection problem (higher sick-pay attracts sicker workers). In this paper we report results of an experiment which inquires to the extend and the severity of the adverse selection when sick-pay is voluntary versus when it is mandatory. Theoretically, mandating sick-pay may be effective in diminishing adverse selection. However, our data provide clean evidence that counteracting effects are more salient. Mandatory sick pay exacerbates moral hazard problems by changing fairness perceptions and, as a consequence, increases sick pay provision far above the mandatory levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Bauernschuster, Stefan & Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Jörg & Vadovic, Radovan, 2010. "Mandatory Sick Pay Provision: A Labor Market Experiment," Working Papers 0498, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0498
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Jörg & Vadovic, Radovan, 2012. "Sick pay provision in experimental labor markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 1-19.
    2. Burfurd, Ingrid & Gangadharan, Lata & Nemes, Veronika, 2012. "Stars and standards: Energy efficiency in rental markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 153-168.
    3. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    4. Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2013. "Long-term absenteeism and moral hazard—Evidence from a natural experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 277-292.
    5. Antonio Filippin & Paolo Crosetto, 2016. "A Reconsideration of Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(11), pages 3138-3160, November.
    6. Charness, Gary & Du, Ninghua & Yang, Chun-Lei & Yao, Lan, 2013. "Promises in contract design," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 194-208.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    sick pay; sick leave; experiment; gift exchange.;

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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