IFS Working Paper (WP17/21)

The short- and long-term effects of student absence: evidence from Sweden

Date: 05 October 2017
Publisher: The IFS
JEL classification: C23, I14, I21, I26

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 fi xed effects estimates suggest absence has a moderate adverse effect on academic performance. The detrimental effect fades out over time. While absence negatively correlates with fi nal education, income and longevity, we only fi nd robust evidence that it lowers the probability of employment at age 25-30.