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Why Are The Sickness Absences So Long In Sweden


  • Andrén, Daniela

    () (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)


Using a sample of 2,789 Swedish residents on working age, this paper analyzes long-term absences from work due to sickness. The database contains all compensated sickness spells in the period January 1986 to December 1991. Earlier studies of work absence due to sickness did not analyze multiple spells of sickness. Moreover, such data requires estimation techniques that were not often used in the previous studies. The analysis is performed using mixed proportional hazard models. The results show that the loss of earnings reduced length of absence, while high regional unemployment increased it. There was more heterogeneity among diagnosis-groups and individual-groups than among regions as groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrén, Daniela, 2004. "Why Are The Sickness Absences So Long In Sweden," Working Papers in Economics 137, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0137

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Maarten Lindeboom & Marcel Kerkhofs, 2000. "Multistate Models For Clustered Duration Data - An Application To Workplace Effects On Individual Sickness Absenteeism," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 668-684, November.
    3. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2001. "Duration models: specification, identification and multiple durations," Handbook of Econometrics,in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 55, pages 3381-3460 Elsevier.
    4. Per Johansson & Mårten Palme, 2002. "Assessing the Effect of Public Policy on Worker Absenteeism," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 381-409.
    5. Johnson, William G & Ondrich, Jan, 1990. "The Duration of Post-injury Absences from Work," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 578-586, November.
    6. Donna B. Gilleskie, 1998. "A Dynamic Stochastic Model of Medical Care Use and Work Absence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 1-46, January.
    7. Dunn, L F & Youngblood, Stuart A, 1986. "Absenteeism as a Mechanism for Approaching an Optimal Labor Market Equilibrium: An Empirical Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 668-674, November.
    8. Per Johansson & Kurt Brafinnafis, 1998. "A household model for work absence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(11), pages 1493-1503.
    9. Fenn, Paul T, 1981. "Sickness Duration, Residual Disability, and Income Replacement: An Empirical Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(361), pages 158-173, March.
    10. Barmby, Tim & Sessions, John G & Treble, John G, 1994. " Absenteeism, Efficiency Wages and Shirking," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(4), pages 561-566.
    11. Chelius, James R., 1981. "Understanding absenteeism: The potential contribution of economic theory," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 409-418, December.
    12. Mohammed Chaudhury & Ignace Ng, 1992. "Absenteeism Predictors: Least Squares, Rank Regression, and Model Selection Results," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(3), pages 615-635, August.
    13. Butler, Richard J & Worrall, John D, 1985. "Work Injury Compensation and the Duration of Nonwork Spells," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(379), pages 714-724, September.
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    More about this item


    long-term sickness; absenteeism; multiple spells; unobserved heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General

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