IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp11543.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impact of Sickness Absenteeism on Productivity: New Evidence from Belgian Matched Panel Data

Author

Listed:
  • Grinza, Elena

    () (University of Milan)

  • Rycx, Francois

    () (Free University of Brussels)

Abstract

We investigate the impact of sickness absenteeism on productivity by using rich longitudinal matched employer-employee data on Belgian private firms. We deal with endogeneity, which arises from unobserved firm heterogeneity and reverse causality, by applying a modified version of the Ackerberg et al's (2015) control function method, which explicitly removes firm fixed effects. Our main finding is that, in general, sickness absenteeism substantially dampens firm productivity. An increase of 1 percentage point in the rate of sickness absenteeism entails a productivity loss of 0.24%. Yet, we find that the impact is much diversified depending on the categories of workers who are absent and across different types of firms. Our results show that sickness absenteeism is detrimental mainly when absent workers are high-tenure or blue-collar workers. Moreover, they show that sickness absenteeism is harmful mostly to industrial firms, high capital-intensive companies, and small- and medium-sized enterprises. This overall picture is coherent with the idea that sickness absenteeism is problematic when absent workers embed high levels of firm/task-specific (tacit) knowledge, when the work of absent employees is highly interconnected with the work of other employees (e.g., along the assembly line), and when firms face more limitations in substituting temporarily absent workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Grinza, Elena & Rycx, Francois, 2018. "The Impact of Sickness Absenteeism on Productivity: New Evidence from Belgian Matched Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 11543, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11543
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp11543.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sean Nicholson & Mark V. Pauly & Daniel Polsky & Claire Sharda & Helena Szrek & Marc L. Berger, 2006. "Measuring the effects of work loss on productivity with team production," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(2), pages 111-123.
    2. Ikujiro Nonaka, 1994. "A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 5(1), pages 14-37, February.
    3. Mark V. Pauly & Sean Nicholson & Daniel Polsky & Marc L. Berger & Claire Sharda, 2008. "Valuing reductions in on-the-job illness: 'presenteeism' from managerial and economic perspectives," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(4), pages 469-485.
    4. Mion, Giordano & Opromolla, Luca David, 2014. "Managers' mobility, trade performance, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 85-101.
    5. Mark V. Pauly & Sean Nicholson & Judy Xu & Dan Polsky & Patricia M. Danzon & James F. Murray & Marc L. Berger, 2002. "A general model of the impact of absenteeism on employers and employees," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(3), pages 221-231.
    6. Romina Giuliano & Stephan Kampelmann & Benoît Mahy & François Rycx, 2017. "Short Notice, Big Difference? The Effect of Temporary Employment on Firm Competitiveness across Sectors," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 55(2), pages 421-449, June.
    7. Mariesa A. Herrmann & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2012. "Worker Absence and Productivity: Evidence from Teaching," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 749-782.
    8. Andrea Ichino & Regina T. Riphahn, 2005. "The Effect of Employment Protection on Worker Effort: Absenteeism During and After Probation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(1), pages 120-143, March.
    9. Heywood, John S. & Jirjahn, Uwe & Wei, Xiangdong, 2008. "Teamwork, monitoring and absence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(3-4), pages 676-690, December.
    10. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-1297, November.
    11. V. Vandenberghe & F. Waltenberg & M. Rigo, 2013. "Ageing and employability. Evidence from Belgian firm-level data," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 111-136, August.
    12. Georges Dionne & Benoit Dostie, 2007. "New Evidence on the Determinants of Absenteeism Using Linked Employer-Employee Data," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 61(1), pages 108-120, October.
    13. Daniel A. Ackerberg & Kevin Caves & Garth Frazer, 2015. "Identification Properties of Recent Production Function Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 2411-2451, November.
    14. 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.
    15. Vandenberghe, V., 2013. "Are firms willing to employ a greying and feminizing workforce?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 30-46.
    16. Steven G. Allen, 1983. "How Much Does Absenteeism Cost?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(3), pages 379-393.
    17. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
    18. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2007. "ROBUSTNESS OF PRODUCTIVITY ESTIMATES -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 529-569, September.
    19. Raegen T. MILLER & Richard J. MURNANE & John B. WILLETT, 2008. "Do worker absences affect productivity? The case of teachers," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 147(1), pages 71-89, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    sickness absenteeism; firm productivity; semiparametric methods for estimating production functions; longitudinal matched employer-employee data;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • M59 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Other
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11543. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: http://www.iza.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.