Social Interactions at the Workplace: Exploring Sickness Absence Behavior

Kjell Vaage, Karsten Rieck, Tor Helge Holmås
University of Bergen, Norway

We investigate whether a worker’s sickness absence is affected by the absence of her colleagues at the workplace. Using a unique matched employer-employee data for Norwegian school teachers for the period 2001 to 2006 with information of different absence types and multiple teacher and school characteristics, we find evidence of significant social interaction effects for the self-reported absence. The results are robust to different approaches where we mitigate methodological problems such as the reflection problem and intra-group correlation.

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