Workload, staff composition, and sickness absence: findings from employees in child care centers

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Drange, Nina, Trude Gunnes and Kjetil Telle




Empirical Economics

Vol. 61(6), pages 3375-3400

Sammendrag (engelsk)

Persistently, high workload may raise sickness absence with associated costs to firms and society.We proxy workload by the number of adults per child in Norwegian child care centers and find that more educated teachers per child are associated with lower sickness absence. However, more assistants with low or no higher education per child are associated with higher sickness absence, suggesting that observed variation in sickness absence at the center level may be driven by differences in staff composition rather than workload. The importance of the educational composition of employees on sickness absence is supported by findings from fixed-effects models and a fuzzy regression discontinuity design relying on variation from municipal elections.


Sickness absence · Workload · Staff composition · Child care centers · FRDD


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