Workplace, Human Capital and Ethnic Determinants of Health and Sickness Absence in Sweden – 1981-1991

Tommy Bengtsson, Lund University
Kirk A. Scott, Lund University

This study identifies factors influencing the differences in health and utilization of sickness benefits between immigrants and natives in Sweden. The main conclusion is that the differences in consumption of sickness benefits between foreign born and Swedes, as well as between various immigrant groups are large and persist after accounting for standard human capital factors, workplace conditions and recorded medical diagnoses. In fact the difference explained simply by country at birth is larger than differences due to other human capital factors such as education and sex, workplace factors, or observable health factors. It is also larger than income position and urban/rural differences. It is, however, not simply a matter of health selection attributed to arriving as a labor immigrant or asylum seeker but has a more complex pattern. This study utilizes a unique register-based panel containing economic, health and demographic information on a sample of 550,000 Swedes and immigrants from 16 countries.

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Presented in Session 104: Immigrant Health