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Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone's Kids

  • Scott E. Carrell
  • Mark L. Hoekstra

There is a widespread perception that externalities from troubled children are significant, though measuring them is difficult due to data and methodological limitations. We estimate the negative spillovers caused by children from troubled families by exploiting a unique dataset in which children's school records are matched to domestic violence cases. We find that children from troubled families significantly decrease the reading and math test scores of their peers and increase misbehavior in the classroom. The achievement spillovers are robust to within-family differences and when controlling for school-by-year effects, providing strong evidence that neither selection nor common shocks are driving the results. (JEL D62, I21, J12, J13, K42)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.2.1.211
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/data/2009-0014_data.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 211-28

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:211-28
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.2.1.211
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  1. Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2008. "Classroom peer effects and student achievement," Working Papers 08-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Kevin, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," IZA Discussion Papers 976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2008. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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