Friday Morning Fever. Evidence from a Randomized Experiment on Sick Leave Monitoring in the Public Sector

58 Pages Posted: 15 May 2021

See all articles by Tito Boeri

Tito Boeri

Bocconi University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Edoardo Di Porto

CSEF - University of Naples Federico II - Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF)

Paolo Naticchioni

University of Roma

Vincenzo Scrutinio

University of Bologna

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Abstract

This paper provides the first analysis of a population-wide controlled field experiment for home visits checking on sick leave in the public sector. The experiment was carried out in Italy, a country with large absenteeism in the public sector, and it concerned the universe of public employees. We exploit unique administrative data from the Italian social security administration (INPS) on sick leave and work histories. We find that receiving a home visit reduces the number of days on sick leave in the following 16 months by about 12% (5.5 days). The effect is stronger for workers who are found irregularly on sick leave (-10.2 days). We interpret our findings as a deterrence effect of home visits: workers being found irregularly on sick leave experience a decline of about 2% of their wage in the following 12 months. Uncertainty aversion (there is no automatism in these sanctions) can play a role in these results. Our estimates suggest that home visits are cost-effective: every Euro spent for the visits involves up to 10 Euros reductions in sick benefits outlays. We estimate the marginal value of public funds (MVPF) spent on home visits at about 1.13, which is significantly lower than estimates of MVPF of income taxes in the US.

JEL Classification: I12, J45

Suggested Citation

Boeri, Tito and Di Porto, Edoardo and Naticchioni, Paolo and Scrutinio, Vincenzo, Friday Morning Fever. Evidence from a Randomized Experiment on Sick Leave Monitoring in the Public Sector. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14346, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3846690 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3846690

Tito Boeri (Contact Author)

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

Edoardo Di Porto

CSEF - University of Naples Federico II - Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF) ( email )

Via Cintia
Complesso Monte S. Angelo
Naples, Naples 80126
Italy

Paolo Naticchioni

University of Roma ( email )

Roma
Italy

Vincenzo Scrutinio

University of Bologna

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