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Mental Health and Productivity at Work: Does What You Do Matter?

Author

Listed:
  • Melisa Bubonya

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Deborah Cobb-Clark

    (School of Economics, The University of Sydney; Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA); and ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families Over the Life Course)

  • Mark Wooden

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA))

Abstract

Much of the economic cost of mental illness stems from workers’ reduced productivity. We analyze the links between mental health and two alternative workplace productivity measures – absenteeism and presenteeism (i.e., lower productivity while attending work) – explicitly allowing these relationships to be moderated by the nature of the job itself. We find that absence rates are approximately five percent higher among workers who report being in poor mental health. Moreover, job conditions are related to both presenteeism and absenteeism even after accounting for workers’ self-reported mental health status. Job conditions are relatively more important in understanding diminished productivity at work if workers are in good rather than poor mental health. The effects of job complexity and stress on absenteeism do not depend on workers’ mental health, while job security and control moderate the effect of mental illness on absence days.

Suggested Citation

  • Melisa Bubonya & Deborah Cobb-Clark & Mark Wooden, 2016. "Mental Health and Productivity at Work: Does What You Do Matter?," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n16, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2016n16
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    File URL: http://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2016n16.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Melisa Bubonya & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & David C. Ribar, 2017. "The Bilateral Relationship between Depressive Symptoms and Employment Status," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2017n10, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Young-Il Kim & Dongyoung Kim, 2016. "Mental Health Cost Of Terrorism: Study Of The Charlie Hebdo Attack In Paris," Working Papers 1613, Research Institute for Market Economy, Sogang University.
    3. Mendolia, Silvia & McNamee, Paul & Yerokhin, Oleg, 2018. "The Transmission of Mental Health within Households: Does One Partner's Mental Health Influence the Other Partner's Life Satisfaction?," IZA Discussion Papers 11431, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Janisch, Laura M., 2017. "Mental health assimilation of Australian immigrants," Ruhr Economic Papers 728, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mental health; presenteeism; absenteeism; work productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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