Teachers College, Columbia University

Better Together? Social Networks in Truancy and the Targeting of Treatment

Date and Time: March 16, 2018 3:00–4:30 PM
Location: Portland, OR
Venue: Hilton Portland & Executive Towers | Broadway 3

Truancy correlates with many risky behaviors and adverse outcomes for students. This presentation detailed a study that uses detailed administrative data on by-class absences to construct social networks based on students who miss class together. The presenters simulated these networks and used permutation tests to show that certain students systematically coordinate their absences.

Looking at the effects of a parent–information intervention on student absences, the presenters found spillover effects from treated students onto peers in their network. An optimal-targeting algorithm, which incorporates the direct effects and spillover effects of the intervention as well as treatment effect heterogeneity identified by machine-learning techniques, could further improve the cost-effectiveness of the intervention subject to a budget constraint.


Magdalena Bennett
Senior Research Assistant
Research Affiliate
Community College Research Center