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Do Teacher Absences Impact Student Achievement? Longitudinal Evidence from One Urban School District

Author

Listed:
  • Raegen T. Miller
  • Richard J. Murnane
  • John B. Willett

Abstract

Rates of employee absences and the effects of absences on productivity are topics of conversation in many organizations in many countries. One reason is that high rates of employee absence may signal weak management and poor labor-management relations. A second reason is that reducing rates of employee absence may be an effective way to improve productivity. This paper reports the results of a study of employee absences in education, a large, labor-intensive industry. Policymakers' concern with teacher absence rests on three premises: (1) that a significant portion of teachers' absences is discretionary, (2) that teachers' absences have a nontrivial impact on productivity, and (3) that feasible policy changes could reduce rates of absence among teachers. This paper presents the results of an empirical investigation of the first two of these premises; it discusses the third premise. We employ a methodology that accounts for time-invariant differences among teachers in skill and motivation. We find large variation in adjusted teacher absence rates among schools. We estimate that each 10 days of teacher absences reduce students' mathematics achievement by 3.3 percent of a standard deviation.

Suggested Citation

  • Raegen T. Miller & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2007. "Do Teacher Absences Impact Student Achievement? Longitudinal Evidence from One Urban School District," NBER Working Papers 13356, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13356
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13356.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
    2. Donald R. Winkler, 1980. "The Effects of Sick-Leave Policy on Teacher Absenteeism," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(2), pages 232-240, January.
    3. Sean Nicholson & Mark V. Pauly & Daniel Polsky & Claire Sharda & Helena Szrek & Marc L. Berger, 2006. "Measuring the effects of work loss on productivity with team production," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(2), pages 111-123.
    4. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Randy A. Ehrenberg & Daniel I. Rees & REric L. Ehrenberg, 1991. "School District Leave Policies, Teacher Absenteeism, and Student Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 72-105.
    5. Steven G. Allen, 1983. "How Much Does Absenteeism Cost?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(3), pages 379-393.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Chrysanthi Balomenou & Aniko Kalman & Konstantinos Kolovos, 2014. "Comparative analysis of the implementation of Triple Helix Theory in Greece and Hungary and lessons learned from both cases´," ERSA conference papers ersa14p954, European Regional Science Association.
    2. repec:lan:wpaper:2092 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:lan:wpaper:2094 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. C Green & M Navarro Paniagua, 2010. "Does Raising the School Leaving Age Reduce Teacher Effort? A Note from a Policy Experiment," Working Papers 609674, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    5. repec:lan:wpaper:2340 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:lan:wpaper:2209 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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