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PAY, TECHNOLOGY, AND THE COST OF WORKER ABSENCE

Authors

  • MELVYN COLES,

    1. Coles: Professor, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK
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      We are grateful to the British Council and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for financial support under the Alliance programme, and to Thomas Coutrot Ministère des Affaires Sociales, du Travail et de la Solidarité and Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques for permitting us access to the data. Coles and Treble are also grateful to Equipe de Recherche sur les Marchés, l’Emploi et la Simulation at Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II for their hospitality and assistance. Earlier drafts of the paper have been presented at seminars at Oxford, Manchester, Newcastle, Arizona, University College Dublin, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique (Paris), the 2001 Education and Employment Economics Group Conference (Leicester), the 2001 Comparative Analysis of Enterprise Data Conference (Aarhus), the Society of Labor Economists 2002 (Baltimore) and the European Association of Labour Economists Conference 2003 (Paris). Comments from participants are gratefully acknowledged, especially those from Martyn Andrews, Tim Barmby, Peter Dolton, Francis Kramarz, Naçxi Mocan, Ron Oaxaca and Jean-Marc Robin. The final manuscript was much improved by comments from two anonymous referees.

  • JOSEPH LANFRANCHI,

    1. Lanfranchi: Maître de Conférences, Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), 75005 Paris, France
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      We are grateful to the British Council and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for financial support under the Alliance programme, and to Thomas Coutrot Ministère des Affaires Sociales, du Travail et de la Solidarité and Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques for permitting us access to the data. Coles and Treble are also grateful to Equipe de Recherche sur les Marchés, l’Emploi et la Simulation at Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II for their hospitality and assistance. Earlier drafts of the paper have been presented at seminars at Oxford, Manchester, Newcastle, Arizona, University College Dublin, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique (Paris), the 2001 Education and Employment Economics Group Conference (Leicester), the 2001 Comparative Analysis of Enterprise Data Conference (Aarhus), the Society of Labor Economists 2002 (Baltimore) and the European Association of Labour Economists Conference 2003 (Paris). Comments from participants are gratefully acknowledged, especially those from Martyn Andrews, Tim Barmby, Peter Dolton, Francis Kramarz, Naçxi Mocan, Ron Oaxaca and Jean-Marc Robin. The final manuscript was much improved by comments from two anonymous referees.

  • ALI SKALLI,

    1. Skalli: Maître de Conférences, Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), 75005 Paris, France
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      We are grateful to the British Council and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for financial support under the Alliance programme, and to Thomas Coutrot Ministère des Affaires Sociales, du Travail et de la Solidarité and Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques for permitting us access to the data. Coles and Treble are also grateful to Equipe de Recherche sur les Marchés, l’Emploi et la Simulation at Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II for their hospitality and assistance. Earlier drafts of the paper have been presented at seminars at Oxford, Manchester, Newcastle, Arizona, University College Dublin, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique (Paris), the 2001 Education and Employment Economics Group Conference (Leicester), the 2001 Comparative Analysis of Enterprise Data Conference (Aarhus), the Society of Labor Economists 2002 (Baltimore) and the European Association of Labour Economists Conference 2003 (Paris). Comments from participants are gratefully acknowledged, especially those from Martyn Andrews, Tim Barmby, Peter Dolton, Francis Kramarz, Naçxi Mocan, Ron Oaxaca and Jean-Marc Robin. The final manuscript was much improved by comments from two anonymous referees.

  • JOHN TREBLE

    1. Treble: Professor, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK. Phone 44-01792-513684, Fax 44-01792-295872, E-mail J.G.Treble@swan.ac.uk
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    • *

      We are grateful to the British Council and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for financial support under the Alliance programme, and to Thomas Coutrot Ministère des Affaires Sociales, du Travail et de la Solidarité and Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques for permitting us access to the data. Coles and Treble are also grateful to Equipe de Recherche sur les Marchés, l’Emploi et la Simulation at Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II for their hospitality and assistance. Earlier drafts of the paper have been presented at seminars at Oxford, Manchester, Newcastle, Arizona, University College Dublin, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique (Paris), the 2001 Education and Employment Economics Group Conference (Leicester), the 2001 Comparative Analysis of Enterprise Data Conference (Aarhus), the Society of Labor Economists 2002 (Baltimore) and the European Association of Labour Economists Conference 2003 (Paris). Comments from participants are gratefully acknowledged, especially those from Martyn Andrews, Tim Barmby, Peter Dolton, Francis Kramarz, Naçxi Mocan, Ron Oaxaca and Jean-Marc Robin. The final manuscript was much improved by comments from two anonymous referees.


Abstract

Conventional studies of absenteeism concentrate on labor supply. An equilibrium approach, however, establishes that the shadow cost of absenteeism varies across firms that operate different technologies. Using an unusual employee/employer matched data set from France, which records both individual worker absenteeism and information about technology, we show that firms operating just-in-time technology have higher shadow costs of absence than firms that do not. The estimates are used to calculate the economy-wide cost of absence, which turns out to be very low. (JEL J22, J31, J41)

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