Moral hazard, doctors, and absenteism in France. Preliminary analysis based on aggregate data Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • This article provides a simple and preliminary study of variations in the number of days of work lost to illness and injury in France, over time and across jurisdictions. We test the hypothesis that workers use their physicians to cheat the system and increase their leisure time paid for by the sickness fund. Firstly, using time series analysis, we check that change in the unemployment rate correlates unequivocally and negatively with the absence rate. We then show, based on geographical aggregate level data, that physicians' density is not positively correlated to sick leaves, which runs contrary to the idea of cheating helped by doctors. We suggest and test for alternative factors, such as baseline population health. If the increase in the number of days lost to illness is seen as a matter of concern, our recommended policy would be to target demand side as well as supply side in the labour market.

publication date

  • August 2007