IZA DP No. 7794: Is There an Educational Penalty for Being Suspended from School?
published in: Education Economics, 2015, 23 (4), 376-395
Suspension from school is a commonly-used, yet controversial, school disciplinary measure. This paper uses unique survey data to estimate the impact of suspension on the educational outcomes of those suspended. It finds that while suspension is strongly associated with educational outcomes, the relationship is unlikely to be causal, but rather stems from differences in the characteristics of those suspended compared to those not suspended. Moreover, there is no evidence that suspension is associated with larger educational penalties for young people from disadvantaged family backgrounds compared to those from more advantaged family backgrounds. These results hold regardless of whether self-reported suspension or mother-reported suspension is considered. The absence of a negative causal impact of suspension on educational outcomes suggests that suspension may continue to play a role in school discipline without harming the educational prospects of those sanctioned.