Absence from Work of the Self-Employed: A Comparison with Paid Employees


  • For helpful comments and suggestions, we would like to thank Harald Tauchmann and participants in the Workshop on Sickness Absence and Presenteeism in Trier, October 2013.


Using a large representative data set for Germany, this study contrasts absenteeism of self-employed individuals and paid employees by estimating hurdle models. We find that absence from work is clearly less prevalent among the self-employed than among paid employees. Only to a small extent, this difference can be traced back to differences in health status and job satisfaction. Furthermore, the gap in absenteeism does not seem to be driven by different behaviour in case of sickness as we find no clear difference in the prevalence of presenteeism between the two groups. We suspect that different behaviour in case of healthiness plays a role, highlighting potential shirking and moral hazard problems in paid employment.