Working Paper Series
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy
Sick of your colleagues' absence?
(), Per Johansson
() and Peter Nilsson
Abstract: We utilize a large-scale randomized social experiment to
identify how coworkers affect each other’s effort as measured by work
absence. The experiment altered the work absence incentives for half of all
employees living in Göteborg, Sweden. Using administrative data we are able
to recover the treatment status of all workers in more than 3,000
workplaces. We first document that employees in workplaces with a high
proportion treated co-workers increase their own absence levels
significantly. We then examine the heterogeneity of the treatment effect in
order to explore what mechanisms are underlying the peer effect. While a
strong effect of having a high proportion of treated coworkers is found for
the nontreated workers, no significant effects are found for the treated
workers. These results suggest that pure altruistic social preferences can
be ruled out as the main motivator for the behaviour of a nonnegligible
proportion of the employees in our sample.
Keywords: Social interactions; employer emkloyee data; work absence; fairness; reciprocal preferences; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: C23; C93; J24; (follow links to similar papers)
15 pages, January 27, 2009
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