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Sick Leave Before, During and After Pregnancy

Using registry data on every employed Norwegian woman giving birth to her first child during the period 1995–2008, we describe patterns of certified and paid sick leave before, during and after pregnancy. By following the same women over time, we can explore how observed sick leave patterns are – or are not – related to the women’s exiting (or reentering) employment. The results show that sick leave increases abruptly in the month of conception, and continues to grow throughout the term of pregnancy. Sick leave during pregnancy has been rising substantially compared with pre-pregnancy levels over the period 1995–2008, but this increase seems unrelated to women’s growing age at first birth. In line with hypotheses of women’s “double burden”, observed sick leave rates increase in the years after birth. However, when we handle some obvious selection issues – like sick leave during a succeeding pregnancy – the increase in women’s sick leave in the years after birth dissolves. Overall, we find little, if any, sign of the relevance of “double burden” hypotheses in explaining the excessive sick leave of women compared with men.

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Paper provided by University of Bergen, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 06/12.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 08 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2012_006
Contact details of provider: Postal: Institutt for økonomi, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7802, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Phone: (+47)55589200
Fax: (+47)55589210
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  1. Bronars, Stephen G & Grogger, Jeff, 1994. "The Economic Consequences of Unwed Motherhood: Using Twin Births as a Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1141-56, December.
  2. Bratberg, Espen & Naz, Ghazala, 2009. "Does paternity leave affect mothers’ sickness absence," Working Papers in Economics 06/09, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  3. Booth, Alison L & van Ours, Jan C, 2005. "Hours of Work and Gender Identity: Does Part-Time Work Make the Family Happier?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5438, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Jaisri Gangadharan & Joshua Rosenbloom & Joyce Jacobson & James Wishart Pearre III, 1996. "The Effects of Child-Bearing on Married Women's Labor Supply and Earnings: Using Twin Births as a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 5647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Amalia Miller, 2011. "The effects of motherhood timing on career path," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 1071-1100, July.
  6. Jorge M. Aguero & Mindy S. Marks, 2008. "Motherhood and Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Infertility Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 500-504, May.
  7. Horowitz, Joel L & Manski, Charles F, 1995. "Identification and Robustness with Contaminated and Corrupted Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 281-302, March.
  8. Mari Rege & Ingeborg F. Solli, 2010. "The Impact of Paternity Leave on Long-term Father Involvement," CESifo Working Paper Series 3130, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. David Autor & Mark Duggan, 2006. "The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding," NBER Working Papers 12436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. V. Joseph Hotz & Susan Williams McElroy & Seth G. Sanders, 1999. "Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences: Exploiting a Natural Experiment," JCPR Working Papers 157, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  11. Elisabeth Fevang & Simen Markussen & Knut R�ed, 2014. "The Sick Pay Trap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 305 - 336.
  12. Markussen, Simen & Røed, Knut & Røgeberg, Ole J. & Gaure, Simen, 2011. "The anatomy of absenteeism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 277-292, March.
  13. Mastekaasa, Arne, 2000. "Parenthood, gender and sickness absence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(12), pages 1827-1842, June.
  14. Deborah J. Anderson & Melissa Binder & Kate Krause, 2002. "The Motherhood Wage Penalty: Which Mothers Pay It and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 354-358, May.
  15. Hesselius, Patrik & Johansson, Per & Nilsson, Peter, 2009. "Sick of your colleagues' absence?," Working Paper Series 2009:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  16. Erik Biørn & Simen Gaure & Simen Markussen & Knut Røed, 2013. "The rise in absenteeism: disentangling the impacts of cohort, age and time," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 1585-1608, October.
  17. Paringer, Lynn, 1983. "Women and Absenteeism: Health or Economics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 123-27, May.
  18. Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, 2009. "How Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return to Work? Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1363-1402.
  19. repec:oup:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:3:p:1071-1102 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Lundberg, Shelly & Rose, Elaina, 2000. "Parenthood and the earnings of married men and women," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 689-710, November.
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