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The Effect of the 2009 Influenza Pandemic on Absence from Work

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  • Fabian Duarte
  • Srikanth Kadiyala
  • Samuel H. Masters
  • David Powell

Abstract

In July 2009, the WHO declared the first flu pandemic in nearly 40 years. Although the health effects of the pandemic have been studied, there is little research examining the labor productivity consequences. Using unique sick leave data from the Chilean private health insurance system, we estimate the effect of the pandemic on missed days of work. We estimate that the pandemic increased mean flu days missed by 0.042 days per person-month during the 2009 peak winter months (June and July), representing an 800% increase in missed days relative to the sample mean. Calculations using the estimated effect imply a minimum 0.2% reduction in Chile's labor supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabian Duarte & Srikanth Kadiyala & Samuel H. Masters & David Powell, 2017. "The Effect of the 2009 Influenza Pandemic on Absence from Work," Working Papers WR-1176, RAND Corporation.
  • Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:wr-1176
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lars Jonung & Werner Roeger, 2006. "The macroeconomic effects of a pandemic in Europe - A model-based assessment," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 251, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    2. Currie, Janet & Madrian, Brigitte C., 1999. "Health, health insurance and the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 50, pages 3309-3416, Elsevier.
    3. Schwandt, Hannes, 2017. "The Lasting Legacy of Seasonal Influenza: In-Utero Exposure and Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 10589, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3309-3416 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Bradley, Cathy J. & Bednarek, Heather L. & Neumark, David, 2002. "Breast cancer survival, work, and earnings," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 757-779, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Corey White, 2018. "Measuring the Social and Externality Benefits of Influenza Vaccination," Working Papers 1803, California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics.
    2. Slusky, David J. G. & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 2018. "Sunlight and Protection Against Influenza," Working Paper Series rwp18-007, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

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