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Student time allocation and educational production functions

  • Massimiliano Bratti

    (University of Ancona)

  • Stefano Staffolani

    (University of Ancona)

In this paper we aim to remedy some shortcomings in the economic literature on university student absenteeism and academic performance. We start by introducing a simple theoretical model in which students decide the optimal allocation of their time between lecture attendance, self-study and leisure. Under some specific assumptions, we find a positive relationship between lecture attendance and time devoted to self-study in each course, from which we infer that estimates of student performance regressions which omit self-study might be biased. Thus, we estimate an academic performance regression using data from first year undergraduate students of economics in the academic year 1998-99 at the University of Ancona (Italy) and find evidence that once self-study time is controlled for, the positive and significant effect of lecture attendance for some courses disappears. This is likely to be important especially when student performance regressions are used to evaluate the effectiveness of course attendance and to inform the debate on the introduction of mandatory attendance on some courses to enhance student performance.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/hew/papers/0207/0207001.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series HEW with number 0207001.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 31 Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwphe:0207001
Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on PC; pages: 31 ; figures: included
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Schmidt, Robert M, 1983. "Who Maximizes What? A Study in Student Time Allocation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 23-28, May.
  2. Chizmar, John F & Zak, Thomas A, 1983. "Modeling Multiple Outputs in Educational Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 17-22, May.
  3. Massimiliano Bratti & Stefano Staffolani, 2001. "Performance accademica e scelta della facoltà universitaria: aspetti teorici e evidenza empirica," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 91(6), pages 203-244, July-Augu.
  4. 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.
  5. Siegfried, John J & Fels, Rendigs, 1979. "Research on Teaching College Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 923-69, September.
  6. 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.
  7. McGuckin, Robert H & Winkler, Donald R, 1979. "University Resources in the Production of Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(2), pages 242-48, May.
  8. Pritchett, Lant & Filmer, Deon, 1999. "What education production functions really show: a positive theory of education expenditures," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 223-239, April.
  9. Mark B. Stewart, 1982. "On Least Squares Estimation When the Dependent Variable is Grouped," Working Papers 539, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803, August.
  11. David Romer, 1993. "Do Students Go to Class? Should They?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 167-174, Summer.
  12. 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.
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