Measuring the effects of work loss on productivity with team production

Sean Nicholson, Mark V. Pauly, Daniel Polsky, Claire Sharda, Helena Szrek, Marc L. Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Using data from a survey of 800 managers in 12 industries, we find empirical support for the hypothesis that the cost associated with missed work varies across jobs according to the ease with which a manager can find a perfect replacement for the absent worker, the extent to which the worker functions as part of a team, and the time sensitivity of the worker's output. We then estimate wage 'multipliers' for 35 different jobs, where the multiplier is defined as the cost to the firm of an absence as a proportion (often greater than one) of the absent worker's daily wage. The median multiplier is 1.28, which supports the view that the cost to the firm of missed work is often greater than the wage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-123
Number of pages13
JournalHealth economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cost of absences
  • Productivity
  • Work loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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