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Measuring inappropriate medical diagnosis and treatment in survey data: The case of ADHD among school-age children

  • Evans, William N.
  • Morrill, Melinda S.
  • Parente, Stephen T.

We exploit the discontinuity in age when children start kindergarten generated by state eligibility laws to examine whether relative age is a significant determinant of ADHD diagnosis and treatment. Using a regression discontinuity model and exact dates of birth, we find that children born just after the cutoff, who are relatively old-for-grade, have a significantly lower incidence of ADHD diagnosis and treatment compared with similar children born just before the cutoff date, who are relatively young-for-grade. Since ADHD is an underlying neurological problem where incidence rates should not change dramatically from one birth date to the next, these results suggest that age relative to peers in class, and the resulting differences in behavior, directly affects a child's probability of being diagnosed with and treated for ADHD.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 657-673

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:29:y:2010:i:5:p:657-673
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  1. Lo Sasso, Anthony T. & Buchmueller, Thomas C., 2004. "The effect of the state children's health insurance program on health insurance coverage," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 1059-1082, September.
  2. repec:rwi:dpaper:0027 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2004. "Child Mental Health and Human Capital Accumulation: The Case of ADHD," NBER Working Papers 10435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Patrick J. McEwan & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2008. "The Benefits of Delayed Primary School Enrollment: Discontinuity Estimates Using Exact Birth Dates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  5. Jason Fletcher, 2010. "Spillover effects of inclusion of classmates with emotional problems on test scores in early elementary school," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 69-83.
  6. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," RWI Discussion Papers 27, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI).
  8. Anna Aizer, 2008. "Peer Effects and Human Capital Accumulation: the Externalities of ADD," NBER Working Papers 14354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dobkin, Carlos & Ferreira, Fernando, 2010. "Do school entry laws affect educational attainment and labor market outcomes?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 40-54, February.
  10. Datar, Ashlesha, 2006. "Does delaying kindergarten entrance give children a head start?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 43-62, February.
  11. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:4:p:1437-1472 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Patrick Puhani & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Does the early bird catch the worm?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 359-386, May.
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