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Sickness Absence and Peer Effects -Evidence from a Swedish Municipality


  • Bokenblom, Mattias

    () (Department of Business, Economics, Statistics and Informatics)

  • Ekblad, Kristin

    () (Department of Business, Economics, Statistics and Informatics)


In this paper we use detailed employment records to study to what extent sickness absence among work group colleagues influences individual sickness absence. Our results indicate an overall positive peer effect. However, further analysis show peer behavior to be important for women’s sickness absence, but not for men’s, and that woman are only affected by their female co-workers. Our findings also suggest that it, on average, takes two to three years for a new employee to become influenced by the absence pattern of the work group. In light of our results, we cannot rule out the possibility of social norms being important to the individual sick leave decision.

Suggested Citation

  • Bokenblom, Mattias & Ekblad, Kristin, 2007. "Sickness Absence and Peer Effects -Evidence from a Swedish Municipality," Working Papers 2007:11, Örebro University, School of Business, revised 14 Sep 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:oruesi:2007_011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jörgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35.
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    More about this item


    Peer effects; sickness absence; social norms;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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