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Does Unauthorized School Absenteeism Accelerates the Dropout Decision? Evidence from a Bayesian Duration Model

Sofie J. Cabus & Kristof De Witte


School absenteeism (or truancy) may be a signal of an ongoing process of student attrition that eventually leads to early school leaving. This paper estimates how unau- thorized school absenteeism accelerates the dropout decision. In particular, the timing of the dropout decision of truants is compared with the timing of regular school atten- dees using administrative data with insights on wrongly speci…ed truancy spells. We correct in a Bayesian duration model for issues on data uncertainty, and show that only a Bayesian structure on the data yields insightful and consistent results. The results indicate that the risk of truants to leave school early before the end of the compulsory education age increases with as much as 37.4 percent.
Keywords: Bayesian duration model; School absenteeism; Early school leaving
Jel: I21, I28

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