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Mandatory Sick Pay Provision: A Labor Market Experiment

  • Stefan Bauernschuster

    (University of Jena)

  • Jörg Oechssler


    (Department of Economics, University of Heidelberg, Germany)

  • Peter Duersch

    (University of Heidelberg)

  • Radovan Vadovic

    (ITAM, Mexico City)

The question whether a minimum rate of sick pay should be mandated is much debated. We study the effects of this kind of intervention in an experimental labor market that is rich enough to allow for moral hazard, adverse selection, and crowding out of good intentions to occur. We find that higher sick pay is reciprocated by workers through higher effort but only if sick pay is not mandated. We also study adverse selection effects when workers have different probabilities of getting sick and can reject the hypothesis that this leads to market breakdown. Overall, we find that mandating sick pay actually leads to a higher voluntary provision of sick pay by ?rms.

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Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2009-076.

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Date of creation: 25 Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2009-076
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  1. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 1997. "Reciprocity as a contract enforcement device: experimental evidence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5911, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Tim A. Barmby & Marco G. Ercolani & John G. Treble, 2002. "Sickness Absence: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F315-F331, June.
  3. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. 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.
  5. Peter Dürsch & Jörg Oechssler & Radovan Vadovic, 2008. "Sick Pay Provision in Experimental Labor Markets," Working Papers 0476, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2008.
  6. Fehr, Ernst & Klein, Alexander & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2005. "Fairness and Contract Design," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 67, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  7. Charness, Gary & Frechette, Guillaume R & Kagel, John H, 2002. "How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8qq4k3ph, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
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  11. Jody Heymann & Hye Jin Rho & John Schmitt & Alison Earle, 2009. "Contagion Nation: A Comparison of Paid Sick Day Policies in 22 Countries," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2009-19, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  12. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2004. "Do Labour Market Conditions Affect Gift Exchange? Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 684-708, 07.
  13. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  14. R. Lynn Hannan & John H. Kagel & Donald V. Moser, 2002. "Partial Gift Exchange in an Experimental Labor Market: Impact of Subject Population Differences, Productivity Differences, and Effort Requests on Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 923-951, October.
  15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  16. Sandra Maximiano & Randolph Sloof & Joep Sonnemans, 2004. "Gift Exchange in a Multi-worker Firm," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-100/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  17. McCabe, Kevin A. & Rigdon, Mary L. & Smith, Vernon L., 2003. "Positive reciprocity and intentions in trust games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 267-275, October.
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