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Workload and teacher absence

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  • Ost, Ben
  • Schiman, Jeffrey C.

Abstract

We investigate the determinants of teacher absences both within and across schools. We find that teachers generally respond to increased workload by decreasing their rate of absence. Teachers are less likely to be absent when they are teaching larger classes, have new grade assignments or have fewer years of experience. Moreover, we show that when teachers change schools, their absence rate quickly gravitates towards the mean absence rate of their new school, suggesting that school-level factors are an important determinant of absence rates. Finally, we show that the inverse relationship between workload and absence may lead researchers to underestimate the ceteris paribus effect of certain teacher inputs. We illustrate this point in the context of estimating the effect of teacher experience on test scores and show that controlling for absence rates increases the estimated returns to experience by approximately 10%.

Suggested Citation

  • Ost, Ben & Schiman, Jeffrey C., 2017. "Workload and teacher absence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 20-30.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:57:y:2017:i:c:p:20-30
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2017.01.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, March.
    2. Papay, John P. & Kraft, Matthew A., 2015. "Productivity returns to experience in the teacher labor market: Methodological challenges and new evidence on long-term career improvement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 105-119.
    3. Brian A. Jacob, 2013. "The Effect of Employment Protection on Teacher Effort," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(4), pages 727-761.
    4. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2006. "Addressing Absence," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 117-132, Winter.
    5. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Esther Duflo & Rema Hanna & Stephen P. Ryan, 2012. "Incentives Work: Getting Teachers to Come to School," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1241-1278, June.
    7. Ben Ost, 2014. "How Do Teachers Improve? The Relative Importance of Specific and General Human Capital," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 127-151, April.
    8. Mariesa A. Herrmann & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2012. "Worker Absence and Productivity: Evidence from Teaching," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 749-782.
    9. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2004. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 247-252, May.
    10. Guarino, Cassandra M. & Reckase, Mark D. & Stacy, Brian & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2014. "Evaluating Specification Tests in the Context of Value-Added Estimation," IZA Discussion Papers 7974, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2009. "Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying About in the United States?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(2), pages 115-149, April.
    12. Ost, Ben & Schiman, Jeffrey C., 2015. "Grade-specific experience, grade reassignments, and teacher turnover," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 112-126.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Teacher absences; School practices;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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