IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Absenteeism, Unemployment And Employment Protection Legislation: Evidence From Italy

  • Vincenzo Scoppa


  • Daniela Vuri


    (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)

Efficiency wages theories argue that the threat of firing, coupled with a high unemployment rate, is a mechanism that discourages employee shirking in asymmetric information contexts. Our empirical analysis aims to verify the role of unemployment as a worker discipline device, considering the different degree of job security offred by the Italian Employment Protection Legislation to workers employed in small and large firms. We use a panel of administrative data (WHIP) and consider sickness absences as an empirical proxy for employee shirking. Controlling for a number of individual and firm characteristics, we investigate the relationship between worker's absences and local unemployment rate (at the provincial level). We find a strong negative impact of unemployment on absenteeism rate, which is considerable larger in small firms due to a significantly lower protection from dismissals in these firms. We also find that workers who are absent more frequently face higher risks of dismissal. As an indirect test of the role of unemployment as worker's discipline device we show that public sector employees, almost impossible to fire, do not react to the local unemployment.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2012-12
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica) in its series Working Papers with number 201208.

in new window

Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201208
Contact details of provider: Postal: Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza, Ponte Pietro Bucci, Cubo 0/C, I-87036 Arcavacata di Rende, CS, Italy
Phone: +39 0984 492413
Fax: +39 0984 492421
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Pietro Garibaldi & Lia Pacelli & Andrea Borgarello, 2003. "Employment Protection Legislation and the Size of Firms," Working Papers 247, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Riphahn, Regina T., 2004. "Employment protection and effort among German employees," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 353-357, December.
  3. Askildsen, Jan Erik & Bratberg, Espen & Nilsen, Øivind Anti, 2002. "Unemployment, labour force composition and sickness absence. A panel data study," Working Papers in Economics 05/02, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  4. Assar Lindbeck & Marten Palme & Mats Persson, 2006. "Job Security and Work Absence: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 1687, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Boeri, Tito & Jimeno, Juan F, 2003. "The Effects of Employment Protection: Learning from Variable Enforcement," CEPR Discussion Papers 3926, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Hesselius, Patrik, 2007. "Does sickness absence increase the risk of unemployment?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 288-310, April.
  7. Riphahn, Regina T. & Thalmaier, Anja, 1999. "Behavioral Effects of Probation Periods: An Analysis of Worker Absenteeism," IZA Discussion Papers 67, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  10. Ichino, Andrea & Maggi, Giovanni, 2000. "Work Environment And Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials In A Large Italian Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 2387, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
  12. Vincenzo Scoppa, 2010. "Worker absenteeism and incentives: evidence from Italy," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(8), pages 503-515, December.
  13. Olsson, Martin, 2007. "Employment Protection and Sickness Absence," Working Paper Series 717, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  14. Campbell, Carl III, 1994. "The determinants of dismissals tests of the shirking model with individual data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 89-95, September.
  15. Johansson, Per & Palme, Mårten, 2001. "Assessing the effect of public policy on worker absenteeism," Working Paper Series 2002:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  16. 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.
  17. Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2008. "Shirking and Employment Protection Legislation: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," MPRA Paper 16694, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Andrea Ichino & Regina T. Riphahn, 2005. "The Effect of Employment Protection on Worker Effort: Absenteeism During and After Probation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(1), pages 120-143, 03.
  19. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  20. Engellandt, Axel & Riphahn, Regina, 2004. "Temporary Contracts and Employee Effort," CEPR Discussion Papers 4178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Cappelli, Peter & Chauvin, Keith, 1991. "An Interplant Test of the Efficiency Wage Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 769-87, August.
  22. Cristini, Annalisa & Origo, Federica & Pinoli, Sara, 2012. "The Healthy Fright of Losing a Good One for a Bad One," IZA Discussion Papers 6348, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Arai, Mahmood & Thoursie, Peter Skogman, 2005. "Incentives and selection in cyclical absenteeism," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 269-280, April.
  24. Johansson, Per & Palme, Marten, 1996. "Do economic incentives affect work absence? Empirical evidence using Swedish micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 195-218, February.
  25. Fahr, René & Frick, Bernd, 2007. "On the Inverse Relationship between Unemployment and Absenteeism: Evidence from Natural Experiments and Worker Heterogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 3171, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  26. Simen Markussen, 2012. "The individual cost of sick leave," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 1287-1306, October.
  27. Barmby, Tim & Stephan, Gesine, 2000. "Worker Absenteeism: Why Firm Size May Matter," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 68(5), pages 568-77, September.
  28. Faini, Riccardo & Galli, Giampaolo & Gennari, Pietro & Rossi, Fulvio, 1997. "An empirical puzzle: Falling migration and growing unemployment differentials among Italian regions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 571-579, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201208. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Giovanni Dodero)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.