Spillovers from gatekeeping – Peer effects in absenteeism

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Citation
Godøy, Anna and Harald Dale-Olsen. “Spillovers from gatekeeping – Peer effects in absenteeism.” Journal of Public Economics, 167(2018):190-204. November 2018.

Abstract
We study peer effects in absenteeism among workplace colleagues. Gatekeeping is an essential task in many insurance systems. In this study we exploit exogenous shifts of general practitioners (GPs) occurring when physicians quit or retire. We find that these shifts induce changes in absenteeism for affected workers. By utilizing high-quality Norwegian matched employer-employee data with detailed individual information on certified sick leave during the period 2003–2012, we can study how the transfer of workers between GPs affects co-workers’ absenteeism. We identify strong causal positive peer effects in absenteeism: a one day change in focal worker sickness absence transfers to a 0.41 day shift in peer absence.

Highlights

  • We study peer effects in absenteeism among workplace colleagues.
  • GPs have considerable influence on patients absence patterns.
  • Identification is obtained by exploiting plausibly exogenous shifts in GP patient relationship.
  • A one day change in focal worker sickness absence transfers to a 0.41 day shift in peer absence.
  • Spillover effects significantly amplify impacts of policies that reduce absenteeism.
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