"Absenteeism, Health Insurance, and Business Cycles"
2003/17: Nordberg M., & Røed, K., The Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research & HERO
(PDF 412 kb)
Picture: One of the main findings in this report on individual sickness absence behaviour in Norway, is that abcence sometimes represents a health investment, in the sense that longer absence 'now' reduces the subsequent relapse propensity.The purpose of this paper is to evaluate how the economic environment affects worker absenteeism, with a focus on the design of the health insurance system and state of the business cycle (labour market tightness). A dependent competing risks hazard rate model is used to investigate individual sickness absence behaviour in Norway, on the basis of register data covering more than 2 million absence spells. The findings are: i) that business cycle improvements yield lower work-resumption rates for persons who are absent, and higher relapse rates for persons who have already resumed work; ii) that absence sometimes represents a health investment, in the sense that longer absence 'now' reduces the subsequent relapse propensity; and iii) that the work-resumption rate increases when sickness benefits are exhausted, but that work-resumptions at this point tend to be short-lived. ISBN 82-7756-123-7