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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1037172
 
 

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Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying About in the U.S.?


Charles T. Clotfelter


Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy; Duke University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Helen F. Ladd


Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy

Jacob L. Vigdor


Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy; Duke University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

November 2007

NBER Working Paper No. w13648

Abstract:     
Using detailed data from North Carolina, we examine the frequency, incidence, and consequences of teacher absences in public schools, as well as the impact of an absence disincentive policy. The incidence of teacher absences is regressive: schools in the poorest quartile averaged almost one extra sick day per teacher than schools in the highest income quartile, and schools with persistently high rates of teacher absence were much more likely to serve low-income than high-income students. In regression models incorporating teacher fixed effects, absences are associated with lower student achievement in elementary grades. Finally, we present evidence that the demand for discretionary absences is price-elastic. Our estimates suggest that a policy intervention that simultaneously raised teacher base salaries and broadened financial penalties for absences could both raise teachers' expected income and lower districts' expected costs.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 52

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Date posted: November 30, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Clotfelter, Charles T. and Ladd, Helen F. and Vigdor, Jacob L., Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying About in the U.S.? (November 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13648. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1037172

Contact Information

Charles T. Clotfelter (Contact Author)
Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy ( email )
Box 90245
Durham, NC 27708
United States
919-613-7361 (Phone)
919-681-8288 (Fax)
Duke University - Department of Economics
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Helen F. Ladd
Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy ( email )
201 Science Drive
Box 90312
Durham, NC 27708-0239
United States
919-613-7352 (Phone)
Jacob L. Vigdor
Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy ( email )
201 Science Drive
Box 90312
Durham, NC 27708-0239
United States
919-613-7354 (Phone)
Duke University - Department of Economics
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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