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Am I Missing Something? The Effects of Absence from Class on Student Performance

  • Arulampalam, Wiji

    ()

    (University of Warwick)

  • Naylor, Robin

    ()

    (University of Warwick)

  • Smith, Jeremy

    ()

    (University of Warwick)

We exploit a rich administrative panel data-set for cohorts of Economics students at a UK university in order to identify causal effects of class absence on student performance. We utilise the panel properties of the data to control for unobserved heterogeneity across students and hence for endogeneity between absence and academic performance of students stemming from the likely influence of unobserved effort and ability on both absence and performance. Our estimations also exploit features of the data such as the random assignment of students to classes and information on the timetable of classes, which yield potential instruments in our identification strategy. Among other results, we find that there is a causal effect of absence on performance for students: missing class leads to poorer performance. There is evidence from a quantile regression specification that this is particularly true for better-performing students, consistent with our hypothesis that effects of absence on performance are likely to vary with factors such as student ability.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3749.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3749
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  1. Daniel R. Marburger, 2006. "Does Mandatory Attendance Improve Student Performance?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 148-155, April.
  2. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2007. "The Causal Effect of Studying on Academic Performance," NBER Working Papers 13341, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rodgers, Joan R, 2002. "Encouraging Tutorial Attendance at University Did Not Improve Performance," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(3), pages 255-66, September.
  4. David Romer, 1993. "Do Students Go to Class? Should They?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 167-174, Summer.
  5. 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 343-46, May.
  6. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  7. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Jacob M. Markman & Steven G. Rivkin, 2001. "Does Peer Ability Affect Student Achievement?," NBER Working Papers 8502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Luca Stanca, 2013. "The Effects of Attendance on Academic Performance: Panel Data Evidence for Introductory Microeconomics," Working Papers 78, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2013.
  9. Daniel R. Marburger, 2001. "Absenteeism and Undergraduate Exam Performance," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(2), pages 99-109, January.
  10. Koenker, Roger, 2004. "Quantile regression for longitudinal data," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 74-89, October.
  11. 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.
  12. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Educational Production," NBER Working Papers 7349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Gregory A. Krohn & Catherine M. O'Connor, 2005. "Student Effort and Performance over the Semester," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 3-28, January.
  15. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
  16. Moshe Buchinsky, 2001. "Quantile regression with sample selection: Estimating women's return to education in the U.S," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 87-113.
  17. Caroline M. Hoxby, 1998. "The Effects of Class Size and Composition on Student Achievement: New Evidence from Natural Population Variation," NBER Working Papers 6869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
  19. Stephen Devadoss & John Foltz, 1996. "Evaluation of Factors Influencing Student Class Attendance and Performance," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(3), pages 499-507.
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