The Impact of Absent Coworkers on Productivity in Teams

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We study how workers in production teams are affected by the temporary absence and replacement of a co-worker using data on injuries in the National Hockey League. We distinguish between the absence of a substitute worker, who performs the same tasks as the focal workers, and the absence of a complementary co-workers, who performs complementary tasks to the focal workers. When either type of co-worker is absent, remaining workers produce less output per working time. In the case of a substitute absentee, they compensate for this by increasing their working time at the expense of the (less able) replacement worker. This renders the output loss per remaining substitute worker to be insignificant. For the absence of a complementary worker, the productivity loss leads to a loss of total output per worker, because remaining workers cannot take over the absent co-worker’s tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102400
JournalLabour Economics
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2023

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