Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2005:15: Monitoring sickness insurance claimants: evidence from a social experiment

Patrik Hesselius (), Per Johansson () and Laura Larsson
Additional contact information
Patrik Hesselius: IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Per Johansson: IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Laura Larsson: SNS - Studieförbundet Näringsliv och Samhälle, Postal: SNS, Jakobsbergsgatan 18 , Box 5629 , S-114 86 Stockholm

Abstract: The paper exploits a unique social experiment carried out in 1988 in Sweden to identify the effect of monitoring on sickness absence. The treatment consists of postponing the first formal point of monitoring during a sickness absence spell, a requirement for a doctor’s certificate, from day eight to day fifteen. The experiment was conducted in two geographical areas, and the treatment group was randomized by birth date. The results show strong effects on sickness absence duration from extending the waiting period in both areas. On average, the durations increased by 6.6 percent. No effect on incidence of sickness absence is found. A heterogeneity analysis reveals that monitoring affects men more than women.

Keywords: Absenteeism; sickness insurance; monitoring; social experiment

JEL-codes: H55; I18; J22; J28

32 pages, June 19, 2005

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