Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying about in the U.S.?
National Bureau of Economic Research, 2007 - Absenteeism (Labor) - 51 pages
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.
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Absences and Student administrative annual leave annual vacation leave Appendix Table A2 associated average number Carolina Education Research classroom Clotfelter days absent days per teacher dependent variable district enrollment Duflo Duke University Economic Education Research Data Ehrenberg elementary schools equation 2.1 errors in parentheses estimated coefficients experience extended sick leave fixed effects models free lunch full-time equivalent hazard ratio Helen F high school high-absence impact imply inexperienced teachers Interaction term Ladd leave days Middle school National Board certified nonwhite percentage North Carolina Education number of absences number of days number of sick omitted omitted variables bias personal days personal leave Proportional Hazard Model rates of absence rates of teacher regressions Research Data Center school characteristics school districts sick and personal sick days taken sick plus personal standard deviation Standard errors statistically student achievement student nonwhite substitute teachers teacher absences teacher characteristics teacher fixed effects Teacher test score Vigdor