Quasi-fixed employment costs and absenteeism

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Todd L. Idson, Committee Chair


This dissertation explores the relationship between absenteeism and fringe benefits. Using Becker's model of time allocation, it is found that when total compensation is increased through fringe benefits (holding wages or salary constant), the probability of absences increases. Fringe benefits that reduce the time input per unit of a commodity, and those that reduce the price of market goods were found to have the most significant positive effect on absenteeism. When employer penalties are introduced, the effect is to reduce absences. However, the positive effect of fringe benefits on absences persists despite the negative effect of employer penalties.The expected costs of absenteeism in the U.S., is estimated to be as high as $35.2 billion in 1973 (or 2.6 percent and 5.0 percent of 1973 GNP and payroll, respectively), and \$32.0 billion in 1979 (or 1.3 percent and 2.5 percent of 1979 GNP and payroll, respectively). The part of these costs attributable to the existence of fringe benefits is estimated to be about $7 billion in 1973 and \$444 million in 1979. Policy simulations show that a restructuring of fringe benefit packages toward those that reduce the time input per unit of a commodity actually reduces the absence probability by about 1 percent.


Economics, Labor

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