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Fathers and Youth's Delinquent Behavior

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  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.

    ()
    (University of Melbourne)

  • Tekin, Erdal

    ()
    (American University)

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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6042.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Economics of the Household, 2014, 12 (2), 327-358
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6042

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Keywords: crime; fathers; adolescence; family structure; delinquent behavior;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Kathleen Harris & Frank Furstenberg & Jeremy Marmer, 1998. "Paternal involvement with adolescents in intact families: The influence of fathers over the life course," Demography, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 201-216, May.
  3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 7666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2012. "The stability of big-five personality traits," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 11-15.
  5. Mocan, Naci & Tekin, Erdal, 2003. "Guns, Drugs and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Panel of Siblings and Twins," IZA Discussion Papers 932, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. 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.
  8. Larry Bumpass & R. Raley & James Sweet, 1995. "The changing character of stepfamilies: implications of cohabitation and nonmarital childbearing," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 425-436, August.
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  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Aizer, Anna, 2004. "Home alone: supervision after school and child behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1835-1848, August.
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  21. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
  22. Sandra Hofferth, 2006. "Residential father family type and child well-being: Investment versus selection," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 53-77, February.
  23. Karen Conway & Minghua Li, 2012. "Family structure and child outcomes: a high definition, wide angle “snapshot”," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 345-374, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Doris, Aedin & O'Neill, Donal & Sweetman, Olive, 2012. "Gender, Single-Sex Schooling and Maths Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 6917, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. D. Mark Anderson & Resul Cesur & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Youth Depression and Future Criminal Behavior," NBER Working Papers 18656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sarah Grace See, 2013. "The Riskiest of Them All: Parental Supervision and Adolescent Behaviors," CHILD Working Papers Series 21, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
  4. 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.

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