Click here for search results

Absenteeism of Teachers and Health Workers


The absenteeism study is a variant of the Qualitative Service Delivery Survey in which surprise visits are carried out in primary schools and health clinics. These surveys combine direct verification of the attendance of teachers and medical personnel with detailed data gathering on facility and provider characteristics.

This work began as part of the World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for the Poor.  Absenteeism surveys have been fielded in Bangladesh (where results have already drawn a lot of attention), Ecuador, India (20 separate states), Indonesia, Peru, and Uganda.

Beyond documenting the extent and patterns of teacher absenteeism, the study explores provider and institutional factors that shape absenteeism patterns and the impact of teacher absenteeism on student performance.

ContactHalsey Rogers Email:

Initial Project Description  ( PDF, 144 KB) 


  • Chaudhury, Nazmul, Jeffrey S. Hammer, Michael Kremer, Karthik Muralidharan, and F. Halsey Rogers. 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries." Journal of Economic Perspectives 20(1): 91-116. Draft ( PDF 385 kb)

  • Provider Absence in Schools and Health Clinics, N. Chaudhury, J. Hammer, M.Kremer, K. Muralidharan, and H. Rogers, processed September 2004. Draft ( PDF 178 kb)

  • Ghost Doctors: Absenteeism in Rural Bangladeshi Health Facilities,  N. Chaudhury and J. S. Hammer, World Bank Economic Review 18(3), 2004. (Based on Policy Research Working Paper 3065)
  • Roll Call: Teacher Absence in Bangladesh, N. Chaudhury, J. Hammer, M. Kremer, K. Mularidharan, F. H. Rogers, June 2004. Draft ( PDF 280 kb)


  • Teacher Absence and Incentives in Primary Education: Primary Education Results from a National Teacher Tracking Survey in Ecuador, F. Halsey Rogers, J. Lopez-Calix, N. Chaudhury and J. Hammer, N.  Córdoba, M. Kremer, and K. Muralidharan, Excerpt from forthcoming World Bank Report No. 28911-EC, "Ecuador: Creating Fiscal Space for Poverty Reduction: A Fiscal Management and Public Expenditure Review," Volume 2. Excerpt  (PDF162 kb)


  • Teacher Absence in India: A SnapshotM. Kremer, K. Muralidharan, N. Chaudhury, J. Hammer, F. H. Rogers. Journal of the European Economic Association 3 (2-3): 658-667, 2005. Draft  (PDF 51 kb)


  • When Teachers are Absent: Where Do They Go and What is the Impact on Students? Akhmadi Syaikhu Usman and Daniel Suryadarma, SMERU Field Report (April). SMERU: Jakarta, 2004. (A field report summaring the data by our research partner)Full text
  • Suryadarma, Daniel, Asep Suryahadi, Sudarno Sumarto, and F. Halsey Rogers. 2006. "Improving Student Performance in Public Primary Schools in Developing Countries: Evidence from Indonesia." Education Economics 14(4): 401-29. Draft (PDF 633 kb)


  • Rogers, F. Halsey, Lorena Alcazar, Nazmul Chaudhury, Jeffrey S. Hammer, Michael Kremer, and Karthik Muralidharan. Forthcoming. "Why Are Teachers Absent? Probing Service Delivery in Peruvian Primary Schools. " International Journal of Educational ResearchDraft  ( PDF 186 kb)

Related Links

  • Qualitative Service Delivery Survey Tools (Online content)
  • World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work For Poor People (Website)


A list of publications (by year) for this unit is available here.

Research Articles & Briefs on Absenteeism

  • Missing in Action: Teacher and Medical Provider Absence in Developing Countries 
    (Featured Article, March 2006) Absenteeism of teachers and medical personnel is widely acknowledged as a barrier to improvement of education and health outcomes in developing countries, especially in South Asia.
  • Missing in Action: Teacher and Medical Provider Absence in Developing Countries by Halsey (Research Brief, October 2005). Provider absenteeism is high in poorer countries and states. A recent study shows that absence ranges from 11 to 27 percent among primary-school teachers, and from 23 to 40 percent among medical personnel. What do the levels and patterns of these data tell us? 

Policy Research Working Papers on Absenteeism
(Please use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDF PDF files)
The following policy research working papers are drawn from the World Bank's institutional archives. Each link opens a page with an abstract of the document and several download options.

Update: January 31, 2007


WPS3065Ghost doctors - absenteeism in Bangladeshi health facilitiesChaudhury, Nazmul; Hammer, Jeffrey S.2003/05

Permanent URL for this page:

© 2016 The World Bank Group, All Rights Reserved. Legal