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Worker Absenteeism and Incentives: Evidence from Italy

  • Scoppa, Vincenzo

In Italy employees are fully insured against earning losses due to illness. Since worker’s health is not easily verifiable, absenteeism due to illness is considered an empirical proxy for employee shirking. The Bank of Italy Household Survey (SHIW) provides individual data on days of absence. Controlling for personal characteristics and potential determinants of health status and family responsibilities (age, gender, education, marital status, children at home) we show that the nature of employment contracts affects workers’ incentives to provide effort: sickness absences, at least partially, hide opportunistic behaviours. The type of occupation and the labour contracts affects workers’ behaviour in that more protected and difficult to monitor jobs show significantly higher levels of absenteeism: employees in public sector or in large firms, with permanent contracts or with longer tenure, individuals living in regions with low unemployment rates.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16858.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16858
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  1. Allen, Steven G, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Work Attendance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 77-87, February.
  2. repec:lan:wpaper:3018 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. repec:lan:wpaper:3020 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. 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.
  5. Barmby, Tim, 2002. "Worker absenteeism: a discrete hazard model with bivariate heterogeneity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-476, September.
  6. repec:lan:wpaper:3173 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2000. "The Role of Social Capital In Financial Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 2383, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 2000. "Work Environment And Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials In A Large Italian Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1057-1090, August.
  9. Barmby, Tim & Sessions, John G & Treble, John G, 1994. " Absenteeism, Efficiency Wages and Shirking," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(4), pages 561-66.
  10. repec:lan:wpaper:2926 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Barmby, Tim & Orme, Chris D & Treble, John, 1990. "Worker Absenteeism: An Analysis Using Microdata," CEPR Discussion Papers 434, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Barmby, Tim & Orme, Chris & Treble, John, 1995. "Worker absence histories: a panel data study," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 53-65, March.
  13. 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.
  14. Cappelli, Peter & Chauvin, Keith, 1991. "An Interplant Test of the Efficiency Wage Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 769-87, August.
  15. Barmby, Tim & Stephan, Gesine, 2000. "Worker Absenteeism: Why Firm Size May Matter," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 68(5), pages 568-77, September.
  16. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  17. Riphahn, Regina T. & Thalmaier, Anja, 1999. "Behavioral Effects of Probation Periods: An Analysis of Worker Absenteeism," IZA Discussion Papers 67, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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