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The effect of childhood conduct disorder on human capital

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  • Suncica Vujic
  • Pierre Koning

    ()

  • Dinand Webbink

    ()

  • N. Martin

Abstract

This paper estimates the longer-term effects of childhood conduct disorder on human capital accumulation and violent and criminal behaviour later in life using data of Australian twins. We measure conduct disorder with a rich set of indicators based on diagnostic criteria from psychiatry (e.g., aggression to people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, and/or serious violations of rules). Using ordinary least squares (OLS) and twin fixed effects (FE) estimation approaches, we find that early (pre-18) conduct disorder problems significantly affect both human capital accumulation and violent and criminal behaviour over the life course. For instance, within pairs of identical twins we find that conduct disorder reduces the probability of high school graduation with 4 to 13 percent points and increases the probability of being arrested with 7 to 16 percent points. Robustness checks suggest that these estimates may be lower bounds of the true effects of conduct disorder. In addition, we find that conduct disorder is more deleterious if these behaviours occur earlier in life. We conclude that childhood mental health problems have high human and financial costs for families and society at large. Effective treatments early in life might yield high returns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in its series CPB Discussion Paper with number 113.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:113

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  1. Anh T. Le & Paul W. Miller & Andrew C. Heath & Nick Martin, 2004. "Early Childhood Behaviours, Schooling and Labour Market Outcomes: Estimates from a Sample of Twins," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 04-02, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Dinand Webbink & Nicholas Martin & Peter Visscher, 2011. "Does teenage childbearing reduce investment in human capital?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 701-730, April.
  2. Dinand Webbink & Pierre Koning & Suncica Vujic & N. Martin, 2008. "Why are criminals less educated than non-criminals? Evidence from a cohort of young Australian twins," CPB Discussion Paper 114, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  3. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2011. "Estimating the relation between health and education: What do we know and what do we need to know?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 778-791, October.
  4. Millemaci, Emanuele & Sciulli, Dario, 2011. "The causal effect of family difficulties during childhood on adult labour market outcomes," MPRA Paper 29026, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Lundborg, Petter & Nilsson, Anton & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "Does Early Life Health Predict Schooling Within Twin Pairs?," IZA Discussion Papers 5803, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Donal O’Neill & Sinéad McGilloway & Michael Donnelly & Tracey Bywater & Paul Kelly, 2013. "A cost-effectiveness analysis of the Incredible Years parenting programme in reducing childhood health inequalities," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 85-94, February.

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