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Differences and similarities in work

Empirical analyses of micro panel data

Maria Nilsson

Växjö University Press 2005. 100 s. ISBN 9176364623
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

This thesis consists of three self-contained essays about absenteeism.
Essay I analyzes if the design of the insurance system affects work absence, i.e. the classic insurance problem of moral hazard. Several reforms of the sickness insurance system were implemented during the period 1991-1996. Using Nega-tive binomial models with fixed effects, the analysis show that both workers and employers changed their behavior due to the reforms. We also find that the ex-tent of moral hazard varies depending on work contract structures. The reforms reducing the compensation levels decreased workers’ absence, both the number of absent days and the number of absence spells. The reform in 1992, introduc-ing sick pay paid by the employers, also decreased absence levels, which proba-bly can be explained by changes in personnel policy such as increased use of monitoring and screening of workers.
Essay II examines the background to gender differences in work absence. Women are found, as in many earlier studies, to have higher absence levels than men. Our analysis, using finite mixture models, reveals that there are a group of women, comprised of about 41% of the women in our sample, that have a high average demand of absence. Among men, the high demand group is smaller con-sisting of about 36% of the male sample. The absence behavior differs as much between groups within gender as it does between men and women. The access to panel data covering the period 1971-1991 enables an analysis of the increased gender gap over time. Our analysis shows that the increased gender gap can be attributed to changes in behavior rather than in observable characteristics.
Essay III analyzes the difference in work absence between natives and im-migrants. Immigrants are found to have higher absence than natives when meas-ured as the number of absent days. For the number of absence spells, the pattern for immigrants and natives is about the same. The analysis, using panel data and count data models, show that natives and immigrants have different characteris-tics concerning family situation, work conditions and health. We also find that natives and immigrants respond differently to these characteristics. We find, for example, that the absence of natives and immigrants are differently related to both economic incentives and work environment. Finally, our analysis shows that differences in work conditions and work environment only can explain a minor part of the ethnic differences in absence during the 1980’s.
Keywords: moral hazard, gender difference, immigrants, panel data, count data models, fixed effects, finite mixture models