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

  • Oliver Röhn Rigmar Osterkamp
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    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 theexplanation of sick-leave differences between countries.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-Ifo_Working_Papers/wp-ifo-2005-2010/IfoWorkingPaper-19.pdf
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    Paper provided by Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich in its series Ifo Working Paper Series with number Ifo Working Papers No. 19.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_19
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    1. Askildsen, Jan Erik & Bratberg, Espen & Nilsen, Øivind Anti, 2002. "Unemployment, Labour Force Composition and Sickness Absence: A Panel Data Study," IZA Discussion Papers 466, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Barmby, Tim A. & Ercolani, Marco G. & Treble, John G., 2000. "Sickness Absence: An International Comparison," IRISS Working Paper Series 2000-03, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    3. Andrea Ichino & Regina T. Riphahn, 2001. "The Effect of Employment Protection on Worker Effort. A Comparison of Absenteeism During and After Probation," CESifo Working Paper Series 596, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Rigmar Osterkamp, 2002. "Work Lost Due to Illness - an International Comparison," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 3(4), pages 36-40, 02.
    5. Bertil Holmlund, 2004. "Sickness Absence and Search Unemployment," CESifo Working Paper Series 1227, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. James Banks & Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest, 2004. "International Comparisons of Work Disability," Working Papers 155, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
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