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Does anybody notice? On the impact of improved truancy reporting on school dropout

Kristof De Witte & Marton Csillag


Various policy measures have been taken in industrialised countries to reduce school dropout rates. This paper first examines the relationship between truancy and school dropout. Using fixed effectsregressions and controlling for truancy peer group effects, we observe that truancy (measured as both a discrete dummy variable, and a continuous count measure) positively correlates to early school leaving. A truant has a 3.4 percentage points higher risk of leaving school without a qualification. Second, we exploit the introduction of truancy reporting in a quasi-experimental identification strategy. In essence, the idea is straightforward: if students are better monitored with respect to truancy, schools can identify more easily students at risk. The results indicate that improved truancy reporting significantly reduces school dropout by 5 percentage points.
Keywords: Early school leaving; Truancy; Policy effectiveness; Fixed effects; Truancy reporting
JEL-classification: I21, I28, C90

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