Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 1585–1608 | Cite as

The rise in absenteeism: disentangling the impacts of cohort, age and time

  • Erik Biørn
  • Simen Gaure
  • Simen Markussen
  • Knut RøedEmail author
Original Paper


In recent years, a number of welfare state economies, including Norway, have experienced substantial increases in sickness absence. Using longitudinal individual register data for virtually all Norwegian employees, we examine the remarkable rise since the early 1990s, with emphasis on disentangling the roles of cohort, age, and time. We show that individual age-adjusted absence propensities have risen even more than aggregate absence rates from 1993 to 2005, which casts doubt on the popular hypotheses that the rise was due to the inclusion into the workforce of young or marginal workers with weaker work-norms or poorer health.


Sick leave Work-norms Multicollinearity 

JEL Classification

C23 I38 J22 



This paper is part of the project “Absenteeism in Norway—Causes, Consequences, and Policy Implications”, financed by the Norwegian Research Council (grant #187924). We thank the Editor and two anonymous referees for useful comments.

Supplementary material

148_2012_403_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (34 kb)
(PDF 34.4 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Biørn
    • 1
  • Simen Gaure
    • 2
  • Simen Markussen
    • 2
  • Knut Røed
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.The Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic ResearchOsloNorway

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