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The effect of student time allocation on academic achievement



There is a large literature on the influence of institutional characteristics on student academic achievement. In contrast, relatively little research focusses on student time allocation and its effects on student performance. This paper contributes to the literature by investigating the effect of student time allocation on the average grade of undergraduate students, by gender, ability, and field of study. The results suggest that the time spent on attending courses is positively associated with grades for females, high-ability students, and students of Social Sciences and Sciences/Engineering. Spending time on self-study, on other study-related activities, or on working as a student assistant or tutor is positively correlated with grades for almost all students. Devoting time for attending tutorials or student work groups is negatively correlated with grades if the ability of students is below average or if they study Sciences/Engineering. Using a translog production function, the results indicate that spending time on courses, on self-study, and on other study-related activities are substitutes. However, time spent on courses and time spent on working as a student assistant or tutor are complements.

Suggested Citation

  • Barbara Grave, 2011. "The effect of student time allocation on academic achievement," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 291-310.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:19:y:2011:i:3:p:291-310 DOI: 10.1080/09645292.2011.585794

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Billari, Francesco C. & Pellizzari, Michele, 2008. "The Younger, the Better? Relative Age Effects at University," IZA Discussion Papers 3795, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Doris Weichselbaumer & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2005. "A Meta-Analysis of the International Gender Wage Gap," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 479-511, July.
    3. McNabb, Robert & Pal, Sarmistha & Sloane, Peter, 2002. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: The Case of University Students in England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(275), pages 481-503, August.
    4. Krautmann, Anthony C. & Sander, William, 1999. "Grades and student evaluations of teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-63, February.
    5. Massimiliano Bratti & Stefano Staffolani, 2013. "Student Time Allocation and Educational Production Functions," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 111-112, pages 103-140.
    6. Levin, Henry M. & Tsang, Mun C., 1987. "The economics of student time," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 357-364, August.
    7. repec:adr:anecst:y:2013:i:111-112:p:5 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Dolton, Peter & Marcenaro, Oscar D. & Navarro, Lucia, 2003. "The effective use of student time: a stochastic frontier production function case study," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 547-560, December.
    9. Durden, Garey C & Ellis, Larry V, 1995. "The Effects of Attendance on Student Learning in Principles of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 343-346, May.
    10. Smith, Jeremy & Naylor, Robin, 2001. " Determinants of Degree Performance in UK Universities: A Statistical Analysis of the 1993 Student Cohort," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(1), pages 29-60, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zwick, Thomas, 2012. "Determinants of individual academic achievement: Group selectivity effects have many dimensions," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-081, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. repec:hur:ijarbs:v:7:y:2017:i:4:p:816-827 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Delaney, Liam & Harmon, Colm & Ryan, Martin, 2013. "The role of noncognitive traits in undergraduate study behaviours," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 181-195.
    4. Adrian Chadi & Marco de Pinto & Gabriel Schultze, 2017. "Young, Gifted and Lazy? The Role of Ability and Labor Market Prospects in Student Effort Decisions," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201705, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).

    More about this item


    student time allocation; student performance; educational production function;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor


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