Absence and Completion among students in Vocational Education

Tróndur Møller Sandoy, Fane Groes, Edith Madsen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


We analyze the effect of school absence on program completion among a group
of students in Vocational Education in Denmark. According to human capital theory, being present in class and participating in class activities is an important determinant of human capital formation and therefore the causal effect of absence
on educational performance is of interest. To identify this effect we use data on
daily student attendance from the administrative systems of VET schools in combination with register data on ompletion and student background characteristics. There is a very strong correlation between absence and ompletion. In order
to identify the causal effect of absence on completion, we introduce a new panel
data instrument for absence that uses variation over time in absence for the individual student. We have observations of absence over time but we only have
cross-sectional information on completion. Under certain assumptions, the proposed instrument is independent of unobserved individual-specific fixed effects,
such as ability, that might affect both absence and completion. However, the
conditions for validity of the panel data instrument do not hold when many students have zero absence and that is the case in the setup considered in this
presentation. In a different approach, we use certain weather conditions (rain
and wind speed) as instruments for absence. We face the challenge that there is
only little variation in weather conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Economics of Education
  • Vocational Education and Training
  • Absence
  • Instrumental variables


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