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

50 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2008

See all articles by Wiji Arulampalam

Wiji Arulampalam

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Robin Naylor

University of Warwick - Department of Economics

Jeremy Smith

University of Warwick - Department of Economics

Abstract

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.

Keywords: randomised experiments, quantile regression, selection correction, panel data, education, student performance, class absence

JEL Classification: C41, J24, I2

Suggested Citation

Arulampalam, Wiji and Naylor, Robin A. and Smith, Jeremy P., Am I Missing Something? The Effects of Absence from Class on Student Performance. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3749, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1282971 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Wiji Arulampalam (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
01203 523471 (Phone)
01203 523032 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Robin A. Naylor

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Jeremy P. Smith

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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