The price of forced attendance

Sacha Kapoor*, Matthijs Oosterveen, Dinand Webbink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


We draw on a discontinuity at a large university, wherein second-year students with a low first-year grade point average are allocated to a full year of forced, frequent, and regular attendance, to estimate the causal effect of additional structure on academic performance. We show that the policy increases student attendance but has no average effect on grades. The effects differ, however, depending on how course instructors handled unforced students, such that we observe significant grade decreases in courses where unforced students were given full discretion over their attendance. Our evidence suggests that grades decrease in these courses because the policy prevented forced students from picking their desired mix of study inputs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-227
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Econometrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Suzanne Bijkerk, Robert Dur, Julian Emami Namini, Johanna Posch, and Philip Oreopoulos for helpful comments and suggestions. The paper has also benefited from the comments and suggestions of participants at EEA‐ESEM 2016, Erasmus University Rotterdam Seminar Series, IZA Summer School 2017, IZA Workshop on the Economics of Education, and the Tinbergen Institute Seminar Series. The authors have no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Oosterveen acknowledges financial support from the FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (grant PTDC/EGE‐OGE/28603/2017). All omissions and errors are our own.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Applied Econometrics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


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