The changing of the guards: can family doctors contain worker absenteeism?

J Health Econ. 2013 Dec;32(6):1230-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2013.10.005. Epub 2013 Oct 24.


Using administrative data from Norway, we examine the extent to which family doctors influence their clients' propensity to claim sick-pay. The analysis exploits exogenous switches of family doctors occurring when physicians quit, retire, or for other reasons sell their patient lists. We find that family doctors have significant influence on their clients' absence behavior, particularly on absence duration. Their influence is stronger in geographical areas with weaker competition between physicians. We conclude that it is possible for family doctors to contain sick-pay expenditures to some extent, and that there is a considerable variation in the way they perform this task.

Keywords: Absence certification; Family doctors; GP practice styles; Gatekeepers; H55; I13; Sick-pay.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adult
  • Empirical Research
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Referral and Consultation