Contract Type and Teacher Absenteeism in Benin: The Role of Teacher's Supplemental Income

Absenteeism is a phenomenon that has been noted in professional circles with consequences on the income of the wage earner as well as the profits of the firm, consequences that led, according to statistics from 2005, to losses in public finance amounting to close to 70 billion francs for the Government of Benin. Despite such losses, very few studies in economics have focused on the subject to try and give an understanding of the real causes of absenteeism and its consequences. The objective of this study is to explore the relationship between the status of the teacher, supplemental income of the teacher, and the absenteeism of the teacher. Using data from PASEC-CONFEMEN 2005, that will be applied to a theoretical model that we are developing, and through the use of a Tobit empirical method, after having taken the endogeneity bias on the practice of supplemental income generating activities by the teacher into account, this study demonstrates that the practice of income generating activities by teachers positively influences their absenteeism, with contract teachers being more frequently absent than those who are on permanent and pensionable employment contracts. Through linking the level of prices in a locality with absenteeism behaviours, we make it clear that the reasons for absenteeism are mostly related to low purchasing power in the context of earning relatively meagre salaries. These results elicit a set of recommendations that essentially suggest that there should be an improvement in the salaries and working conditions of teachers.