The Effect of High-Stakes Accountability Policies on Teacher Absences

Publication Date


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


Employee absences are costly. This is particularly true in education, as substitute teachers are expensive and teacher absences have been shown to harm student achievement in the U.S. and abroad. If the causes of teacher absences are known, education policy may be designed to reduce teacher absences and thereby reduce the costs associated with teacher absences. The proposed project furthers our understanding of how high-stakes accountability policies affect teacher labor markets by examining the impact of high-stakes accountability policies on teacher absences in North Carolina using longitudinal administrative data. Specifically, the proposed project uses a difference-in-differences strategy to estimate the causal effect of North Carolina’s ABC accountability policy, and later the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), on public school teachers’ absence rates. I also test for differential effects of these policies by observed teacher qualifications, value-added measures of teacher effectiveness, and school type. The results will inform the design of future iterations of education policies, as well as labor-market policies more generally, by documenting how workers respond to changes in incentives and workplace environments along the attendance dimension.

Grant Product

Gershenson, Seth. 2016. "Performance Standards and Employee Effort: Evidence From Teacher Absences." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 35(3): 615-638.

Performance Standards and Employee Effort: Evidence from Teacher Absences
Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 15-217, 2015

Gershenson, Seth. 2015. "Performance Standards and Employee Effort: Evidence from Teacher Absences." American University School of Public Affairs Research Paper No. 2015-002.