Introducing waiting times for health care in a labor supply model for sickness absence

  • Daniela Andrén Örebro University Business School, SE-701 82 Örebro, Sweden
  • David Granlund Umeå School of Business and Economics, Umeå University, Sweden
Keywords: health care, labor supply, sick leave, waiting list, worker absenteeism


This paper studies the association between waiting times for different health care services and the duration of sick leave, using a Swedish register database supplemented with information from questionnaires for 3,653 employees. The duration of sick leave is positively associated with waiting two weeks or more for primary care, technical investigations and specialists, compared to waiting one week or less. Except for waiting for a specialist, there is no indication that waiting four weeks or more is associated with longer durations of sick leave than waiting two to three weeks. Long waiting times for surgery is negatively associated with the duration of sick leave, which might be explained by prioritizing where patients with longer waiting times are those with less severe conditions. Including these waiting time variables did not induce substantial changes on the impact of traditional labor supply variables, which suggests that the parameter estimates of traditional variables are relatively robust.


Published: Online August 2014. In print December 2015.