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Sick Leave and the Composition of Work Teams


  • Matthias Weiss

    () (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))


In this paper, I analyse the relation between workers’ sick leave and the composition of their work teams with respect to age, job tenure, education, and nationality. The probability of sick leave of workers in work teams is shown to be lower if their teammates are older, have shorter job tenure, are less educated, female and of same nationality. In particular, the difference between a worker’s age and the average age of her teammates explains a large part of the well-known positive correlation between age and sick days. In fact, for workers older than 44 years, individual age does not have any significant effect on sick days if the difference between individual age and average team age is held constant. This age difference can be controlled by the management. If older workers have more sick days only if they work in teams with younger workers, it might optimal to form age-homogeneous work teams.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Weiss, 2008. "Sick Leave and the Composition of Work Teams," MEA discussion paper series 07149, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:07149

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrea Ichino & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism, and the Earnings Gap," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 183-218, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Barmby, Tim & Orme, Chris & Treble, John, 1995. "Worker absence histories: a panel data study," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 53-65, March.
    4. Askildsen, J.E. & Bratberg, E. & Nilsen, O.A., 2000. "Sickness Absence over the Business Cycle," Norway; Department of Economics, University of Bergen 0400, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.
    5. Bridges, Sarah & Mumford, Karen, 2001. "Absenteeism in the UK: A Comparison across Genders," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 69(3), pages 276-284, June.
    6. Flabbi, Luca & Ichino, Andrea, 2001. "Productivity, seniority and wages: new evidence from personnel data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 359-387, June.
    7. Paringer, Lynn, 1983. "Women and Absenteeism: Health or Economics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 123-127, May.
    8. Magnus Henrekson & Mats Persson, 2004. "The Effects on Sick Leave of Changes in the Sickness Insurance System," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 87-114, January.
    9. Daniela Andren, 2005. "'Never on a Sunday': Economic incentives and short-term sick leave in Sweden," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 327-338.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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