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Timing matters: worker absenteeism in a weekly backward rotating shift model

Bernd Frick (), Robert Simmons () and Friedrich Stein ()
Additional contact information
Bernd Frick: Paderborn University
Robert Simmons: Lancaster University Management School
Friedrich Stein: Mobile Life Campus, Volkswagen AG

The European Journal of Health Economics, 2020, vol. 21, issue 9, No 10, 1399-1410

Abstract: Abstract Objectives We analyze the impact of the positioning of shifts (morning, afternoon, night) on worker absenteeism in a large German automobile plant. Methods Using a completely balanced panel of 153 organizational units over the 2-year-period 2009 to 2010 (i.e. 104 consecutive weeks with 15,912 unit-week-observations) we estimate a series of GLM and Fixed Effects models. Results Our main finding is that during afternoon shifts absence rates are significantly higher than during either morning or night shifts and that absence rates are particularly high during the afternoon shift immediately following the 3 weeks of consecutive night shifts. We attribute our first finding to the “social opportunity costs” of working and the second one to a “tax evasion effect”. Conclusions When designing new shift models, firms should try to anticipate their workers’ reaction to avoid unintended incentives.

Keywords: Shiftwork; Absenteeism; Pay premium; Tax incentives (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: M54 J22 L62 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10198-020-01232-6

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