Positive Health Externalities of Mandating Paid Sick Leave

45 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2020 Last revised: 26 Oct 2022

See all articles by Stefan Pichler

Stefan Pichler

KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zürich

Katherine Wen

Cornell University

Nicolas R. Ziebarth

Cornell University

Abstract

A growing economic literature studies the optimal design of social insurance systems and the empirical identification of welfare-relevant externalities. In this paper, we test whether mandating employee access to paid sick leave has reduced influenza-like-illness (ILI) transmission rates as well as pneumonia and influenza (P&I) mortality rates in the United States. Using uniquely compiled data from administrative sources at the state-week level from 2010 to 2018 along with difference-in-differences methods, we present quasi-experimental evidence that sick pay mandates have causally reduced doctor-certified ILI rates at the population level. On average, ILI rates fell by about 11 percent or 290 ILI cases per 100,000 patients per week in the first year.

Keywords: negative externalities, sick pay mandates, population health, flu infection

JEL Classification: H23, H75, I12, I14, I18, J22, J38, J58

Suggested Citation

Pichler, Stefan and Wen, Katherine and Ziebarth, Nicolas R., Positive Health Externalities of Mandating Paid Sick Leave. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13530, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3660277

Stefan Pichler (Contact Author)

KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zürich ( email )

Leonhardstrasse 21
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.kof.ethz.ch

Katherine Wen

Cornell University

Nicolas R. Ziebarth

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.human.cornell.edu/bio.cfm?netid=nrz2

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