Valuing reductions in on-the-job illness: 'Presenteeism' from managerial and economic perspectives

Mark V. Pauly, Sean Nicholson, Daniel Polsky, Marc L. Berger, Claire Sharda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


This paper reports on a study of manager perceptions of the cost to employers of on-the-job employee illness, sometimes termed 'presenteeism,' for various types of jobs. Using methods developed previously, the authors analyzed data from a survey of more than 800 US managers to determine the characteristics of various jobs and the relationship of those characteristics to the manager's view of the cost to the firm of absenteeism and presenteeism. Jobs with characteristics that suggest unusually high cost (relative to wages) were similar in terms of their 'absenteeism multipliers' and their 'presenteeism multipliers.' Jobs with high values of team production, high requirements for timely output, and high difficulties of substitution for absent or impaired workers had significantly higher indicators of cost for both absenteeism and presenteeism, although substitution was somewhat less important for presenteeism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-485
Number of pages17
JournalHealth economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Health
  • Presenteeism
  • Productivity
  • Teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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