Thursday, December 6, 2012

Good weather and absenteeism

Ah, the weather is so nice outside, yet I am stuck inside working. If only I could take a vacation day. But wait, I could declare myself sick for a day, would not need a doctor's note because it is just a day, and enjoy life! Well, this is not that easy in my case, as I still need to get the work done, but the temptation is there. And many likely cross that line.

Jingye Shi and Mikal Skuterud use absenteeism data for Canada and find indeed that good weather encourages people to take sick leaves. Given the harsh winter climate in Canada, they limit the analysis to non-winter months and indoor workers, so that the temptations are maximized. Yes, they find that short-term "sickness" increases with good weather, but strangely it affects more workers who do not enjoy sick pay benefits or are on probation. The authors suggest this is because they cannot capture some implicit agreement that one can use short sick leaves for other purposes. That does not convince me.

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