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

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  • Scott E. Carrell
  • Mark L. Hoekstra

Abstract

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)

Suggested Citation

  • Scott E. Carrell & Mark L. Hoekstra, 2010. "Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone's Kids," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 211-228, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:211-28
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.2.1.211
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Carrell Scott E & Carrell Susan A, 2006. "Do Lower Student to Counselor Ratios Reduce School Disciplinary Problems?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-26, April.
    2. Michael A. Boozer & Stephen E. Cacciola, 2001. "Inside the 'Black Box' of Project STAR: Estimation of Peer Effects Using Experimental Data," Working Papers 832, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    3. Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2013. "Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 51-82.
    4. Joshua D. Angrist & Kevin Lang, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1613-1634, December.
    5. Scott E. Carrell & Frederick V. Malmstrom & James E. West, 2008. "Peer Effects in Academic Cheating," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    6. Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2009. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 439-464, July.
    7. Boozer, Michael A. & Cacciola, Stephen E., 2001. "Inside the 'Black Box' of Project Star: Estimation of Peer Effects Using Experimental Data," Center Discussion Papers 28524, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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