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CRES-Seminar: Marianne Simonsen

CRES-Seminar: Marianne Simonsen

"Healthy at Work? Evidence from a Social Experimental Evaluation of a Firm-based Wellness Program"

  • Date: 25th of April at 11:00h
  • Room: 23.103  (Ciutadella Campus, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona).

06.04.2019

 

Marianne Simonsen

"Healthy at Work? Evidence from a Social Experimental Evaluation of a Firm-based Wellness Program" Marianne Simonsen

Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University; Lars Skipper Department of Economics and Business Economics Aarhus University

Abstract:

An increasing number of firms and governments sees worksite health promotion programs as one way to improve employee health and well-being and through this lower absenteeism, increase productivity, and control health care spending. This paper employs a social experiment combined with register-based data to evaluate a comprehensive employer-sponsored health and well-being program, rolled out to about 7,500 healthcare workers in Denmark. The experiment took place over two years (2008-2009), involved in excess of 100 employers, and covered more than 300 work-units. The program consisted of health screening and exercises during working hours as well as shorter courses on promotion of healthy living targeted towards key employees. We find that individuals randomized into the program (and their spouses) pay fewer visits to their primary care physician, especially those who received preventative care consultations and thus were considered at risk prior to the randomization. Importantly, we also detect a lower incidence of psychiatric diagnoses and use of antidepressants. These effects persist both during the course of the program but also in the medium-run. At the same time we find no evidence that the program was successful in improving the primary managerial goals associated with the intervention, namely absenteeism and turnover. Overall, while the reduction in primary care utilization could be driven by mere offset, the improvement in mental health outcomes is likely not.

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