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Fathers and Youth's Delinquent Behavior

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Author Info

  • Deborah Cobb-Clark

    ()
    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

  • Erdal Tekin

    (Department of Economics, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); and National Bureau of Economic Research)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relationship between having one or more father figures and the likelihood that young people engage in delinquent criminal behavior. We pay particular attention to distinguishing the roles of residential and non-residential, biological fathers as well as stepfathers. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we find that adolescent boys engage in more delinquent behavior if there is no father figure in their lives. However, adolescent girls' behavior is largely independent of the presence (or absence) of their fathers. The strong effect of family structure is not explained by the lack of paternal involvement that generally comes with fathers' absence, even though adolescents, especially boys, who spend time doing things with their fathers usually have better outcomes. There is also a link between adult delinquent behavior and adolescent family structure that cannot be explained by fathers' involvement with their adolescent sons and is only partially explained by fathers' involvement with their adolescent daughters. Finally, the strong link between adolescent family structure and delinquent behavior is not accounted for by the income differentials associated with fathers' absence. Our results suggest that the presence of a father figure during adolescence is likely to have protective effects, particularly for males, in both adolescence and young adulthood.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2011n23.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2011n23

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Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
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Web page: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/
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Keywords: Fathers; adolescence; family structure; crime; delinquent behavior;

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References

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  1. Mocan, H Naci & Tekin, Erdal, 2006. "Guns and Juvenile Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 507-31, October.
  2. Resul Cesur & Joseph J. Sabia & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "The Psychological Costs of War: Military Combat and Mental Health," NBER Working Papers 16927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Okumura, Tsunao & Usui, Emiko, 2010. "Do Parents' Social Skills Influence Their Children's Sociability?," PIE/CIS Discussion Paper 466, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  4. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ariel Kalil & Magne Mogstad & Mari Rege & Mark Votruba, 2009. "Divorced Fathers’ Proximity and Children’s Long Run Outcomes. Evidence from Norwegian Registry Data," Discussion Papers 589, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  6. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2007. "Does single parenthood increase the probability of teenage promiscuity, substance use, and crime?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 55-71, February.
  7. Shelly Lundberg, 2005. "Sons, Daughters, and Parental Behaviour," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 340-356, Autumn.
  8. H. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2003. "Guns, Drugs and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Panel of Siblings and Twins," NBER Working Papers 9824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. H. Naci Mocan & Daniel I. Rees, 1999. "Economic Conditions, Deterrence and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 7405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 7666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Daniela Del Boca & Rocio Ribero, 2003. "Visitations and Transfers After Divorce," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 187-204, September.
  12. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "The Stability of Big-Five Personality Traits," IZA Discussion Papers 5943, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Gary Painter & David I. Levine, 2004. "Daddies, Devotion, and Dollars," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 813-850, October.
  14. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2002. "Does Single Parenthood Increase the Probability of Teenage Promiscuity, Drug Use and Crime?," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-23, Claremont Colleges.
  15. Aizer, Anna, 2004. "Home alone: supervision after school and child behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1835-1848, August.
  16. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Demand for Sons: Evidence from Divorce, Fertility, and Shotgun Marriage," NBER Working Papers 10281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Sundström, Marianne, 2013. "Growing up in a blended family or a stepfamily: What is the impact on education?," Working Paper Series 2/2013, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  2. Doris, Aedín & O’Neill, Donal & Sweetman, Olive, 2013. "Gender, single-sex schooling and maths achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 104-119.
  3. Anderson, D. Mark & Cesur, Resul & Tekin, Erdal, 2012. "Youth Depression and Future Criminal Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 6577, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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