IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Sickness Absence, Works Councils, and Personnel Problems. Evidence from German Individual and Linked Employer-Employee Data


  • Arnold, Daniel
  • Brändle, Tobias
  • Goerke, Laszlo


Using both household and linked-employer-employee data we study the effects of works councils on individual sickness absence rates and a subjective measure of personnel problems due to absenteeism in Germany. We find that the existence of a works council is positively correlated with the incidence of absence and the amount of days being absent. Further, personnel problems due to absenteeism are more likely in plants in which there is a works council. We cannot reject the hypothesis, however, that self-selection of employees or firms gives rise to this relationship between absenteeism and works councils.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnold, Daniel & Brändle, Tobias & Goerke, Laszlo, 2013. "Sickness Absence, Works Councils, and Personnel Problems. Evidence from German Individual and Linked Employer-Employee Data," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79906, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79906

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. García-Serrano, Carlos & Malo, Miguel A., 2009. "The impact of union direct voice on voluntary and involuntary absenteeism," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 372-383, March.
    2. Nicolas R. Ziebarth & Martin Karlsson, 2014. "The Effects Of Expanding The Generosity Of The Statutory Sickness Insurance System," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2), pages 208-230, March.
    3. Olsson, Martin, 2009. "Employment protection and sickness absence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 208-214, April.
    4. Laszlo Goerke & Markus Pannenberg, 2007. "Trade Union Membership and Works Councils in West Germany," Industrielle Beziehungen - Zeitschrift fuer Arbeit, Organisation und Management - The German Journal of Industrial Relations, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 14(2), pages 154-175.
    5. Addison, John T & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2001. "Work Councils in Germany: Their Effects on Establishment Performance," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 659-694, October.
    6. Christian Pfeifer, 2011. "The Heterogeneous Economic Consequences of Works Council Relations," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 131(1), pages 59-71.
    7. 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.
    8. Jens Mohrenweiser & Paul Marginson & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "What Triggers the Establishment of a Works Council?," Working Papers 0101, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised Jul 2010.
    9. Goerke, Laszlo & Pannenberg, Markus, 2015. "Trade union membership and sickness absence: Evidence from a sick pay reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 13-25.
    10. Bernhard Boockmann & Susanne Steffes, 2010. "Workers, Firms, or Institutions: What Determines Job Duration for Male Employees in Germany?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(1), pages 109-127, October.
    11. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    12. Kornelius Kraft, 2006. "On Estimating the Effect of Co-Determination on Personnel Turnover," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 126(2), pages 287-305.
    13. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "German Works Councils Old and New: Incidence, Coverage and Determinants," IZA Discussion Papers 495, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    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. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Thomas Zwick, 2010. "German Works Councils and the Anatomy of Wages," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 247-270, January.
    16. Christian Pfeifer, 2010. "Impact of wages and job levels on worker absenteeism," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(1), pages 59-72, March.
    17. Olaf H¸bler & Uwe Jirjahn, 2003. "Works Councils and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Impact on Productivity and Wages," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(4), pages 471-491, September.
    18. Uwe Jirjahn, 2009. "The Introduction of Works Councils in German Establishments - Rent Seeking or Rent Protection?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(3), pages 521-545, September.
    19. Ziebarth, Nicolas R. & Karlsson, Martin, 2010. "A natural experiment on sick pay cuts, sickness absence, and labor costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1108-1122, December.
    20. Leigh, J. Paul, 1985. "The effects of unemployment and the business cycle on absenteeism," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 159-170, May.
    21. Harald Dale-Olsen, 2012. "Sickness absence, performance pay and teams," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(3), pages 284-300, June.
    22. Steven G. Allen, 1984. "Trade Unions, Absenteeism, and Exit-Voice," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(3), pages 331-345, April.
    23. 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, March.
    24. 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.
    25. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79906. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.