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Sickness Absence: An International Comparison

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  • Barmby, Tim A.

    (University of Newcastle upon Tyne and ILR)

  • Ercolani, Marco G.

    (ILR, University of Essex, Colchester)

  • Treble, John G.

    (University of Wales, Bangor and ILR)

Abstract

Previous attempts to analyse international differences in patterns of worker absenteeism have not been convincing because of the difficulty in obtaining internationally comparable data. In this paper, we apply the technique described by Barmby, Ercolani and Treble(1999) to data on full-time workers in 9 countries who have deposited Labour Force Survey returns with the Luxembourg Employment Study. We use the resulting dataset to verify relationships between absence and age, gender and other socio-economic characteristics of workers. These relationships prove to be similar across countries with widely differing mean rates of absence. Since our dataset uses individual observations we are also able to carry out a multivariate analysis of absence and its correlates. The most revealing result of the analysis is that the gender difference in absence rates that is apparent in the raw data is shown to be entirely due to differences in the age structures of the male and female workforce and their marital status.

Suggested Citation

  • Barmby, Tim A. & Ercolani, Marco G. & Treble, John G., 2000. "Sickness Absence: An International Comparison," IRISS Working Paper Series 2000-03, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:iriswp:2000-03
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    1. 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.
    2. Barmby, Tim & Orme, Chris & Treble, John, 1995. "Worker absence histories: a panel data study," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 53-65, March.
    3. Johansson, Per & Palme, Mårten, 1998. "Assessing the effect of a compulsory sickness insurance on worker absenteeism," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 287, Stockholm School of Economics.
    4. Coles, Melvyn G. & Treble, John G., 1993. "The price of worker reliability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 149-155.
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