Sick of Your Colleagues' Absence?

17 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2009

See all articles by Patrik Hesselius

Patrik Hesselius

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation; Uppsala University

Per Johansson

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation; Uppsala University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Peter Nilsson

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation; Uppsala University

Abstract

We utilize a large-scale randomized social experiment to identify how coworkers affect each other's effort as measured by work absence. The experiment altered the work absence incentives for half of all employees living in Goeteborg, Sweden. Using administrative data we are able to recover the treatment status of all workers in more than 3,000 workplaces. We first document that employees in workplaces with a high proportion treated coworkers increase their own absence level significantly. We then examine the heterogeneity of the treatment effect in order to explore what mechanisms are underlying the peer effect. While a strong effect of having a high proportion of treated coworkers is found for the nontreated workers, no significant effects are found for the treated workers. These results suggest that pure altruistic social preferences can be ruled out as the main motivator for the behaviour of a nonnegligible proportion of the employees in our sample.

Keywords: social interactions, employer employee data, work absence, fairness, reciprocal preferences

JEL Classification: J24

Suggested Citation

Hesselius, Patrik and Johansson, Per and Nilsson, Peter, Sick of Your Colleagues' Absence?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3960. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1336057

Patrik Hesselius (Contact Author)

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation ( email )

Box 513
751 20 Uppsala
Sweden

Uppsala University

Box 513
Uppsala, 751 20
Sweden

Per Johansson

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation ( email )

Box 513
751 20 Uppsala
Sweden
+ 46 18 471 70 86 (Phone)
+ 46 18 471 70 71 (Fax)

Uppsala University - Department of Economics ( email )

Uppsala, 751 20
Sweden

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Peter Nilsson

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation ( email )

Box 513
751 20 Uppsala
Sweden

Uppsala University

Box 513
Uppsala, 751 20
Sweden

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