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Youth Depression And Future Criminal Behavior

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  • D. Mark Anderson
  • Resul Cesur
  • Erdal Tekin

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. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we examine the effect of depression during adolescence on the probability of engaging in a number of criminal behaviors later in life. 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 set 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 approximately 227 million dollars per year. (JEL I10, K42)

Suggested Citation

  • D. Mark Anderson & Resul Cesur & Erdal Tekin, 2015. "Youth Depression And Future Criminal Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(1), pages 294-317, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:53:y:2015:i:1:p:294-317
    DOI: 10.1111/ecin.12145
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Srivastava, Preety & Trinh, Trong-Anh, 2021. "The effect of parental smoking on children’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    4. Deetlefs, A.M. Jeanette & Chalmers, Jenny & Tindall, Karen & Wiryakusuma-McLeod, Cindy & Bennett, Sue & Hay, Iain & Humphries, Jacqueline & Eady, Michelle J. & Cronin, Lynette & Rudd, Karl, 2021. "Applying behavioral insights to increase rural and remote internships: Results from two Randomized Controlled Trials," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 92(C).
    5. Giulietti, Corrado & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Zenou, Yves, 2020. "Peers, Gender, and Long-Term Depression," Working Paper Series 1364, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    6. Averett, Susan L. & Smith, Julie K., 2014. "Financial hardship and obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 201-212.
    7. Resul Cesur & Joseph J. Sabia & Erdal Tekin, 2020. "Post-9/11 War Deployments Increased Crime among Veterans," NBER Working Papers 27279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Cui, Ying & Liu, Hong & Zhao, Liqiu, 2019. "Mother's education and child development: Evidence from the compulsory school reform in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 669-692.
    9. McNamee, Paul & Mendolia, Silvia & Yerokhin, Oleg, 2021. "Social media use and emotional and behavioural outcomes in adolescence: Evidence from British longitudinal data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    10. Wang, Deshen & Chen, Bintong & Chen, Jing, 2019. "Credit card fraud detection strategies with consumer incentives," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 179-195.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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