Publication Date


Award Type

First Prize

Dissertation Advisor

Gert G. Wagner


This doctoral thesis deals with sickness absence and economic incentives. It analyzes how economic incentives, as set by policymakers, shape the decisions of employees to go on sick leave. The thesis consists of five independent chapters. Each or the five chapters represents one research study and evaluates at least one specific policy reform in Germany. The unifying aspects of all studies, and hence this thesis, are the following. First, each chapter deals with sickness absence behavior and economic incentives. Second, each chapter evaluates policy reforms that were implemented in the mid-1990s in Germany. Third, each chapter builds upon the only data set that contains representative sick leave information for the whole of the German population: the Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP). Finally, each chapter makes use of the most recent microeconometric evaluation methods, which can be classified as “reduced-form” or “nonstructural.”

Link to dissertation full text