Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

HERO On line Working Paper Series,
Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme

No 2003:17: Absenteeism, Health Insurance, and Business Cycles

Morten Nordberg and Snorre Kverndokk ()
Additional contact information
Morten Nordberg: The Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic, Postal: Norway
Snorre Kverndokk: The Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic, Postal: Gaustadalléen 21, N-0349 Oslo, Norway

Abstract: We use a dependent competing risks hazard rate model to investigate individual sickness absence behaviour in Norway, on the basis of register data covering more than 2 million absence spells. Our findings are: i) that business cycle improvements yield lower work-resumption rates for persons who are absent, and higher relapse rates for persons who have already resumed work; ii) that absence sometimes represents a health investment, in the sense that longer absence ‘now’ reduces the subsequent relapse propensity; and iii) that the work-resumption rate increases when sickness benefits are exhausted, but that work-resumptions at this point tend to be short-lived.

Keywords: Absenteeism; Dependent risks

JEL-codes: C41; J22

34 pages, June 22, 2009

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