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Are Workers with A Long Commute Less Productive? An Empirical Analysis of Absenteeism

Listed author(s):
  • Jos van Ommeren

    (VU University Amsterdam)

  • Eva Gutierrez-i-Puigarnau

    (VU University Amsterdam)

We hypothesize, and test for, a negative effect of the length of the commute on worker’s productivity, by examining whether the commute has a positive effect on worker’s absenteeism. Our estimates for Germany indicate that commuting distance induces absenteeism with an elasticity of about 0.07. On average, absenteeism would be about 16 percent less if all workers would have a negligible commute. These results are consistent with urban efficiency wage models. This discussion paper has resulted in a publication in 'Regional Science and Urban Economics' , 41(1) 1-8.

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Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 09-014/3.

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Date of creation: 19 Feb 2009
Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20090014
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  1. Zenou,Yves, 2009. "Urban Labor Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521698221, September.
  2. Zenou, Yves, 2002. "How do firms redline workers?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 391-408, November.
  3. Gutiérrez-i-Puigarnau, Eva & van Ommeren, Jos N., 2010. "Labour supply and commuting," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 82-89, July.
  4. 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.
  5. Tim A. Barmby & Marco G. Ercolani & John G. Treble, 2002. "Sickness Absence: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages 315-331, June.
  6. Zax, Jeffrey S & Kain, John F, 1996. "Moving to the Suburbs: Do Relocating Companies Leave Their Black Employees Behind?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 472-504, July.
  7. Ross, Stephen L. & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Are shirking and leisure substitutable? An empirical test of efficiency wages based on urban economic theory," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 498-517, September.
  8. Jessica Primoff Vistnes, 1997. "Gender Differences in Days Lost from Work Due to Illness," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(2), pages 304-323, January.
  9. Zenou, Yves & Smith, Tony E., 1995. "Efficiency wages, involuntary unemployment and urban spatial structure," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 547-573, August.
  10. Ose, Solveig Osborg, 2005. "Working conditions, compensation and absenteeism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 161-188, January.
  11. Jan K. Brueckner & Yves Zenou, 2003. "Space and Unemployment: The Labor-Market Effects of Spatial Mismatch," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 242-262, January.
  12. Georges Dionne & Benoit Dostie, 2007. "New Evidence on the Determinants of Absenteeism Using Linked Employer-Employee Data," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 61(1), pages 108-120, October.
  13. Zax, Jeffrey S, 1991. "The Substitution between Moves and Quits," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(409), pages 1510-1521, November.
  14. Barmby, Tim & Sessions, John G & Treble, John G, 1994. " Absenteeism, Efficiency Wages and Shirking," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(4), pages 561-566.
  15. Joshua D. Angrist & Kathryn Graddy & Guido W. Imbens, 2000. "The Interpretation of Instrumental Variables Estimators in Simultaneous Equations Models with an Application to the Demand for Fish," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 499-527.
  16. Barmby, Tim, 2002. "Worker absenteeism: a discrete hazard model with bivariate heterogeneity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-476, September.
  17. 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.
  18. Guimarães, Paulo, 2008. "The fixed effects negative binomial model revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 63-66, April.
  19. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
  20. Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1970. "Absenteeism and the Overtime Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 352-357, June.
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