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The Anatomy of Absenteeism

  • Markussen, Simen


    (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Røed, Knut


    (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Røgeberg, Ole J.


    (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Gaure, Simen


    (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

Based on comprehensive administrative register data from Norway, we examine the determinants of sickness absence behavior; in terms of employee characteristics workplace characteristics, panel doctor characteristics, and economic conditions. The analysis is based on a novel concept of a worker's steady state sickness absence propensity, computed from a multivariate hazard rate model designed to predict the incidence and the duration of sickness absence for all workers. Key conclusions are i) that most of the cross-sectional variation in absenteeism is caused by genuine employee heterogeneity; ii) that the identity of a person's panel doctor has a significant impact on absence propensity; iii) that sickness absence insurance is frequently certified for reasons other than sickness; and iv) that the recovery rate rises enormously just prior to the exhaustion of sickness insurance benefits.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4240.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Health Economics, 2011, 30 (2), 277-292
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4240
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  1. Ichino, Andrea & Moretti, Enrico, 2006. "Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism and the Earning Gap," CEPR Discussion Papers 5785, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Arai, Mahmood & Thoursie, Peter Skogman, 2005. "Incentives and selection in cyclical absenteeism," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 269-280, April.
  3. J. Heckman & B. Singer, 1984. "The Identifiability of the Proportional Hazard Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 231-241.
  4. Lusine Lusinyan & Leo Bonato, 2007. "Work Absence in Europe," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(3), pages 475-538, July.
  5. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  6. Henrekson, Magnus & Persson, Mats, 2001. "The Effects on Sick Leave of Changes in the Sickness Insurance System," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 0444, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 08 Aug 2001.
  7. Knut Roed & Tao Zhang, 2003. "Does Unemployment Compensation Affect Unemployment Duration?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 190-206, January.
  8. Johansson, Per & Palme, Mårten, 2001. "Assessing the effect of public policy on worker absenteeism," Working Paper Series 2002:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  9. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," NBER Working Papers 12893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. repec:oup:restud:v:51:y:1984:i:2:p:231-41 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Fevang, Elisabeth & Kverndokk, Snorre & Røed, Knut, 2008. "Informal Care and Labor Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 3717, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Gaure, Simen & Roed, Knut & Zhang, Tao, 2007. "Time and causality: A Monte Carlo assessment of the timing-of-events approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 1159-1195, December.
  13. repec:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:2:p:617-650 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Markussen, Simen, 2009. "Closing the Gates? Evidence from a Natural Experiment on Physicians' Sickness Certification," Memorandum 19/2009, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  15. Goffe, William L. & Ferrier, Gary D. & Rogers, John, 1994. "Global optimization of statistical functions with simulated annealing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 65-99.
  16. Anna Amilon & Mårten Wallette, 2009. "Work Absence - A Signalling Factor for Temporary Workers?," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(1), pages 171-194, 03.
  17. 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, 03.
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