Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1188: The Short- and Long-term Effects of Student Absence: Evidence from Sweden

Sarah Cattan , Daniel A. Kamhofer (), Martin Karlsson and Therese Nilsson ()
Additional contact information
Sarah Cattan: Institute for Fiscal Studies, London,, Postal: and IZA
Daniel A. Kamhofer: Paderborn University, Postal: University of Duisburg-Essen and CINCH, Essen
Martin Karlsson: CINCH, Postal: University of Duisburg-Essen and IZA, Bonn
Therese Nilsson: Lund University, Postal: and IFN (Research Institute of Industrial Economics) P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Instructional time is seen as an important determinant of school performance, but little is known about the effects of student absence. Combining historical records and administrative data for Swedish individuals born in the 1930s, we examine the impacts of absence in elementary school on short-term academic performance and long-term socio-economic outcomes. Our siblings and individual fixed effects estimates suggest absence has a moderate adverse effect on academic performance. The detrimental effect fades out over time. While absence negatively correlates with final education, income and longevity, we only find robust evidence that it lowers the probability of employment at age 25–30.

Keywords: Absence in school; Educational performance; Long-term effects; Register data

JEL-codes: C23; I14; I21; I26

71 pages, November 20, 2017

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