Coming to Work While Sick: An Economic Theory of Presenteeism with an Application to German Data

31 Pages Posted: 4 May 2015

See all articles by Boris Hirsch

Boris Hirsch

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Daniel S. J. Lechmann

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

Claus Schnabel

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Presenteeism, i.e. attending work while sick, is widespread and associated with significant costs. Still, economic analyses of this phenomenon are rare. In a theoretical model, we show that presenteeism arises due to differences between workers in (health-related) disutility from workplace attendance. As these differences are unobservable by employers, they set wages that incentivise sick workers to attend work. Using a large representative German data set, we test several hypotheses derived from our model. In line with our predictions, we find that bad health status and stressful working conditions are positively related to presenteeism. Better dismissal protection, captured by higher tenure, is associated with slightly fewer presenteeism days, whereas the role of productivity and skills is inconclusive.

Keywords: presenteeism, absenteeism, sick leave, Germany

JEL Classification: I19, J22

Suggested Citation

Hirsch, Boris and Lechmann, Daniel S. J. and Schnabel, Claus, Coming to Work While Sick: An Economic Theory of Presenteeism with an Application to German Data. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2601701

Boris Hirsch (Contact Author)

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg ( email )

Schloßplatz 4
Erlangen, DE Bavaria 91054
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.arbeitsmarkt.wiso.uni-erlangen.de/english/hirsch_e.htm

Daniel S. J. Lechmann

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg ( email )

Claus Schnabel

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg ( email )

Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
Lange Gasse 20
D-90403 Nuernberg
Germany
+49 911 5302 330 (Phone)
+49 911 5302 721 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.arbeitsmarkt.rw.fau.de/english-version/staff/prof-dr-claus-schnabel/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
105
Abstract Views
489
rank
309,091
PlumX Metrics