Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 1287–1306

The individual cost of sick leave

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00148-011-0390-8

Cite this article as:
Markussen, S. J Popul Econ (2012) 25: 1287. doi:10.1007/s00148-011-0390-8


This paper aims to estimate the causal effect of sick leave on subsequent earnings and employment, using an administrative dataset for Norway. To obtain experiment-like variation in sick leave among otherwise similar workers, the leniency of these workers’ physicians—certifying sickness absences—is used as an instrumental variable for sick leave. A 1 percentage point increase in a worker’s sick leave rate is found to reduce his earnings by 1.2% 2 years later. Around half of the reduction in earnings can be explained by a reduction of 0.5 percentage points in the probability of being employed.


Sickness absenceWage formationIV estimation

JEL Classification


Supplementary material

148_2011_390_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (448 kb)
(PDF 447 KB)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic ResearchOsloNorway