Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Worker Absenteeism and Incentives: Evidence from Italy

Scoppa, Vincenzo (2008): Worker Absenteeism and Incentives: Evidence from Italy.

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Abstract

In Italy employees are fully insured against earning losses due to illness. Since worker’s health is not easily verifiable, absenteeism due to illness is considered an empirical proxy for employee shirking. The Bank of Italy Household Survey (SHIW) provides individual data on days of absence. Controlling for personal characteristics and potential determinants of health status and family responsibilities (age, gender, education, marital status, children at home) we show that the nature of employment contracts affects workers’ incentives to provide effort: sickness absences, at least partially, hide opportunistic behaviours. The type of occupation and the labour contracts affects workers’ behaviour in that more protected and difficult to monitor jobs show significantly higher levels of absenteeism: employees in public sector or in large firms, with permanent contracts or with longer tenure, individuals living in regions with low unemployment rates.

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