Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Bergen, Department of Economics

No 11/12: SOCIAL INTERACTIONS AT THE WORKPLACE: EXPLORING SICKNESS ABSENCE BEHAVIOR.

Karsten Marshall Elseth Rieck () and Kjell Vaage ()
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Karsten Marshall Elseth Rieck: Department of Economics, University of Bergen
Kjell Vaage: Department of Economics, University of Bergen

Abstract: We investigate whether a worker’s sickness absence is affected by her colleagues’ absences from the workplace. The analysis is based on unique matched employer-employee data for Norwegian schoolteachers for the period 2001 to 2006 with information on different types of absences and multiple teacher and school characteristics. Using different approaches where methodological problems such as the reflection problem and intra-group correlation are mitigated, we look for evidence of social interaction effects. Our results show that the significance of the social interaction effects critically depends on our ability to control for unobserved school characteristics.

Keywords: Social interaction; peer effects; sickness absence

JEL-codes: C23; C31; H55; I38; J22

22 pages, August 24, 2012

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