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

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  • Oliver Röhn Rigmar Osterkamp

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: (1) natural causes, like the general health situation, employment of women and older persons, and (2) 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. On the basis of 20 countries it is econometrically shown that the main explanatory factors are: generosity of granting sick leave, opportunity costs due to income differentials with neighbouring states, and employment of older people. The unemployment rate – contrary to the result of some single-country studies – and the employment of women do not contribute to the explanation of sick-leave differences between countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Oliver Röhn Rigmar Osterkamp, 2005. "Being on Sick Leave – Possible Explanations for Differences of Sick-leave Days Across Countries Privatization," ifo Working Paper Series 19, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_19
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/IfoWorkingPaper-19.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Holmlund, Bertil, 2004. "Sickness Absence and Search Unemployment," Working Paper Series 2004:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. Jan Erik Askildsen & Espen Bratberg & Øivind Anti Nilsen, 2005. "Unemployment, labor force composition and sickness absence: a panel data study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(11), pages 1087-1101.
    3. Ichino, Andrea & Riphahn, Regina T., 2001. "The Effect of Employment Protection on Worker Effort: A Comparison of Absenteeism During and After Probation," IZA Discussion Papers 385, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Tim A. Barmby & Marco G. Ercolani & John G. Treble, 2002. "Sickness Absence: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages 315-331, June.
    5. James Banks & Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur Van Soest, 2004. "International Comparisons of Work Disability," Working Papers WR-155, RAND Corporation.
    6. Rigmar Osterkamp, 2002. "Work Lost Due to Illness - an International Comparison," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 3(4), pages 36-40, February.
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    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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