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Youth Depression and Future Criminal Behavior

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Author Info

  • Anderson, D. Mark

    ()
    (Montana State University)

  • Cesur, Resul

    ()
    (University of Connecticut)

  • Tekin, Erdal

    ()
    (American University)

Abstract

While the contemporaneous association between mental health problems and criminal behavior has been explored in the literature, the long-term consequences of such problems, depression in particular, have received much less attention. In this paper, we examine the effect of depression during adolescence on the probability of engaging in a number of criminal behaviors using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). In our analysis, we control for a rich set of individual, family, and neighborhood level factors to account for conditions that may be correlated with both childhood depression and adult criminality. One novelty in our approach is the estimation of school and sibling fixed effects models to account for unobserved heterogeneity at the neighborhood and family levels. Furthermore, we exploit the longitudinal nature of our data to account for baseline differences in criminal behavior. The empirical estimates show that adolescents who suffer from depression face a substantially increased probability of engaging in property crime. We find little evidence that adolescent depression predicts the likelihood of engaging in violent crime or the selling of illicit drugs. Our estimates imply that the lower-bound economic cost of property crime associated with adolescent depression is about 219 million dollars per year.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6577.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Economic Inquiry
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6577

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Keywords: depression; Add Health; crime;

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  1. Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2013. "The psychological costs of war: Military combat and mental health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 51-65.
  2. Jason M. Fletcher, 2008. "Adolescent depression: diagnosis, treatment, and educational attainment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1215-1235.
  3. Erdal Tekin & Sara Markowitz, 2005. "Suicidal Behavior and the Labor Market Productivity of Young Adults," NBER Working Papers 11238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Fletcher, Jason & Wolfe, Barbara, 2008. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD revisited," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 794-800, May.
  5. Dave E. Marcotte & Sara Markowitz, 2009. "A Cure for Crime? Psycho-Pharmaceuticals and Crime Trends," NBER Working Papers 15354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Herbst, Chris M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2012. "Child Care Subsidies, Maternal Well-Being, and Child-Parent Interactions: Evidence from Three Nationally Representative Datasets," IZA Discussion Papers 6306, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Tekin, Erdal, 2011. "Fathers and Youth's Delinquent Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 6042, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Chatterji, Pinka & Alegria, Margarita & Takeuchi, David, 2011. "Psychiatric disorders and labor market outcomes: Evidence from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 858-868.
  9. Currie, Janet & Stabile, Mark, 2006. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1094-1118, November.
  10. H. Naci Mocan & Daniel I. Rees, 2005. "Economic Conditions, Deterrence and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from Micro Data," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 319-349.
  11. Christopher Carpenter, 2007. "Heavy Alcohol Use and Crime: Evidence from Underage Drunk-Driving Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 539-557.
  12. Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2012. "Like Godfather, Like Son: Exploring the Intergenerational Nature of Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 550-582.
  13. 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.
  14. Rees, Daniel I. & Sabia, Joseph J. & Argys, Laura M., 2009. "A head above the rest: Height and adolescent psychological well-being," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 217-228, July.
  15. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
  16. Jason M. Fletcher, 2010. "Adolescent depression and educational attainment: results using sibling fixed effects," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(7), pages 855-871.
  17. Sabia, Joseph J. & Rees, Daniel I., 2008. "The effect of adolescent virginity status on psychological well-being," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1368-1381, September.
  18. Michael J. Boskin & Marc S. Robinson & John M. Roberts, 1985. "New Estimates of Federal Government Tangible Capital and Net Investment," NBER Working Papers 1774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  20. Janet Currie & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Understanding the Cycle: Childhood Maltreatment and Future Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 509-549.
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