IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/5785.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism and the Earning Gap

Author

Listed:
  • Ichino, Andrea
  • Moretti, Enrico

Abstract

In most Western countries illness-related absenteeism is higher among female workers than among male workers. Using the personnel dataset of a large Italian bank, we show that the probability of an absence due to illness increases for females, relative to males, approximately 28 days after a previous illness. This difference disappears for workers age 45 or older. We interpret this as evidence that the menstrual cycle raises female absenteeism. Absences with a 28-day cycle explain a significant fraction of the male-female absenteeism gap. To investigate the effect of absenteeism on earnings, we use a simple signaling model in which employers cannot directly observe workers' productivity, and therefore use observable characteristics - including absenteeism - to set wages. Since men are absent from work because of health and shirking reasons, while women face an additional exogenous source of health shocks due to menstruation, the signal extraction based on absenteeism is more informative about shirking for males than for females. Consistent with the predictions of the model, we find that the relationship between earnings and absenteeism is more negative for males than for females. Furthermore, this difference declines with seniority, as employers learn more about their workers' true productivity. Finally, we calculate the earnings cost for women associated with menstruation. We find that higher absenteeism induced by the 28-day cycle explains 11.8 percent of the earnings gender differential.

Suggested Citation

  • Ichino, Andrea & Moretti, Enrico, 2006. "Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism and the Earning Gap," CEPR Discussion Papers 5785, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5785
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://cepr.org/publications/DP5785
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

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

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chen, Yan & Katuščák, Peter & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2013. "Why canʼt a woman bid more like a man?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 181-213.
    2. Peter Skogman Thoursie, 2004. "Reporting sick: are sporting events contagious?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 809-823.
    3. David Card & Brian P. McCall, 1996. "Is Workers' Compensation Covering Uninsured Medical Costs? Evidence from the “Monday Effectâ€," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(4), pages 690-706, July.
    4. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 2000. "Work Environment and Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials in a Large Italian Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1057-1090.
    5. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-679, June.
    7. Hotz, V Joseph & Miller, Robert A, 1988. "An Empirical Analysis of Life Cycle Fertility and Female Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 91-118, January.
    8. Barmby, T A & Orme, C D & Treble, John G, 1991. "Worker Absenteeism: An Analysis Using Microdata," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 214-229, March.
    9. Alberto Alesina & Andrea Ichino & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Gender-Based Taxation and the Division of Family Chores," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-40, May.
    10. Paul Milgrom & Sharon Oster, 1987. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces, and the Invisibility Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 453-476.
    11. Henry S. Farber & Robert Gibbons, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-1047.
    12. Bridges, Sarah & Mumford, Karen, 2001. "Absenteeism in the UK: A Comparison across Genders," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 69(3), pages 276-284, June.
    13. Ichino, Andrea & Polo, Michele & Rettore, Enrico, 2003. "Are judges biased by labor market conditions?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 913-944, October.
    14. Rosemary Hyson & Janet Currie, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 245-250, May.
    15. Paringer, Lynn, 1983. "Women and Absenteeism: Health or Economics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 123-127, May.
    16. 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, March.
    17. David Card & Brian P. McCall, 1994. "Is Workers' Compensation Covering Uninsured Medical Costs? Evidence from the 'Monday Effect'," Working Papers 706, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    18. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    19. Edward Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2004. "The Structure of Wages and Internal Mobility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 212-216, May.
    20. Sarah Bridges & Karen Mumford, 2001. "Absenteeism in the UK: A Comparison Across Genders," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 69(3), pages 276-284, June.
    21. Bengt Holmström, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 169-182.
    22. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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. De Paola, Maria, 2010. "Absenteeism and peer interaction effects: Evidence from an Italian Public Institute," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 420-428, June.
    2. Melanie K. Jones & Richard J. Jones & Paul L. Latreille & Peter J. Sloane, 2009. "Training, Job Satisfaction, and Workplace Performance in Britain: Evidence from WERS 2004," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(s1), pages 139-175, March.
    3. Bradley, Steve & Green, Colin & Leeves, Gareth, 2007. "Worker absence and shirking: Evidence from matched teacher-school data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-334, June.
    4. Bennedsen, Morten & Tsoutsoura, Margarita & Wolfenzon, Daniel, 2019. "Drivers of effort: Evidence from employee absenteeism," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(3), pages 658-684.
    5. repec:lan:wpaper:2935 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883, December.
    7. repec:lan:wpaper:3029 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Steve Bradley & Colin Green & Gareth Leeves, 2014. "Employment Protection, Threat and Incentive Effects on Worker Absence," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(2), pages 333-358, June.
    9. repec:lan:wpaper:2937 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Matthias Weiss, 2008. "Sick Leave and the Composition of Work Teams," MEA discussion paper series 07149, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    11. Heywood, John S. & Jirjahn, Uwe & Wei, Xiangdong, 2008. "Teamwork, monitoring and absence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(3-4), pages 676-690, December.
    12. repec:lan:wpaper:3184 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2012. "Personnel Economics [The Handbook of Organizational Economics]," Introductory Chapters,, Princeton University Press.
    14. René Böheim & Thomas Leoni, 2014. "Firms' Sickness Costs and Workers' Sickness Absences," NBER Working Papers 20305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Moral De Blas, Alfonso & Corrales-Herrero, Helena & Martín-Román, Ángel, 2012. "Glass Ceiling or Slippery Floors? Understanding Gender Differences in the Spanish Worker’s Compensation System/¿Techo de cristal o suelo resbaladizo? Comprendiendo las diferencias de género en el sist," Estudios de Economia Aplicada, Estudios de Economia Aplicada, vol. 30, pages 311-340, Abril.
    16. Zhang, Xuelin, 2007. "Gender Differences in Quits and Absenteeism in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007296e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    17. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Stefan Pichler & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2020. "Mandated Sick Pay: Coverage, Utilization, and Welfare Effects," NBER Working Papers 26832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Martin Byford, 2003. "Moral Hazard From Costless Hidden Actions," Working Papers 2003.03, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    19. Pouliakas, Konstantinos & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2010. "An Inquiry Into The Theory, Causes And Consequences Of Monitoring Indicators Of Health And Safety At Work," SIRE Discussion Papers 2010-120, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    20. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 2003. "Performance Incentives within Firms: The Effect of Managerial Responsibility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(4), pages 1613-1650, August.
    21. Rebitzer, James B. & Taylor, Lowell J., 2011. "Extrinsic Rewards and Intrinsic Motives: Standard and Behavioral Approaches to Agency and Labor Markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 8, pages 701-772, Elsevier.
    22. Martin Ljunge, 2012. "The Spirit of the Welfare State? Adaptation in the Demand for Social Insurance," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(3), pages 187-223.
    23. Bratberg, Espen & Monstad, Karin, 2015. "Worried sick? Worker responses to a financial shock," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 111-120.
    24. Lindbeck, Assar & Palme, Mårten & Persson, Mats, 2006. "Job Security and Work Absence: Evidence form a Natural Experiment," Seminar Papers 743, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Absenteeism; Gender differentials;

    JEL classification:

    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:cpr:ceprdp:5785. 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: the person in charge (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    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.