Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

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

No 2013:9: Gender differences in sickness absence and the gender division of family responsibilities

Nikolay Angelov (), Per Johansson () and Erica Lindahl ()
Additional contact information
Nikolay Angelov: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Per Johansson: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Erica Lindahl: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: This study investigates possible reasons for the gender difference in sickness absence. We estimate both short- and long-term effects of parenthood in a within-couple analysis based on the timing of parenthood. We find that after entering parenthood, women increase their sickness absence by between 0.5 days per month (during the child's third year) and 0.85 days per month (during year 17) more than their spouse. By investigating possible explanations for the observed effect, we conclude that the effect mainly stems from higher home commitment, which reduces women's labour market attachment and, in turn, increases female sickness absence.

Keywords: Double burden; health investment; household work; labour market work; moral hazard; parenthood; sickness insurance; work absence

JEL-codes: C23; D13; I19; J22

51 pages, April 17, 2013

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