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

Author

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Evans, William N. & Morrill, Melinda S. & Parente, Stephen T., 2010. "Measuring inappropriate medical diagnosis and treatment in survey data: The case of ADHD among school-age children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 657-673, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:29:y:2010:i:5:p:657-673
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:602:p:1096-1118 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rasmus Landersø & Helena Skyt Nielsen & Marianne Simonsen, 2013. "School Starting Age and Crime," Economics Working Papers 2013-03, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    3. Brun, Cédric & Demazeux, Steeves & Vittorio, Pierangelo Di & Gonon, François & Gorry, Philippe & Konsman, Jan Peter & Lung, Fanny & Lung, Yannick & Minard, Michel & Montalban, Matthieu & Rumeau, Nicol, 2015. "La construction des catégories diagnostiques de maladie mentale," Revue de la Régulation - Capitalisme, institutions, pouvoirs, Association Recherche et Régulation, vol. 17.
    4. Chorniy, Anna, 2016. "Sex, Drugs, and ADHD: The Effects of ADHD Pharmacological Treatment on Teens' Risky Behaviors," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145766, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Elder, Todd E., 2010. "The importance of relative standards in ADHD diagnoses: Evidence based on exact birth dates," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 641-656, September.
    6. Dalsgaard, Søren & Nielsen, Helena Skyt & Simonsen, Marianne, 2014. "Consequences of ADHD medication use for children's outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 137-151.
    7. Courtemanche, Charles & Tchernis, Rusty & Zhou, Xilin, 2017. "Parental Work Hours and Childhood Obesity: Evidence Using Instrumental Variables Related to Sibling School Eligibility," IZA Discussion Papers 10739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Schwandt, Hannes & Wuppermann, Amelie, 2016. "The youngest get the pill: ADHD misdiagnosis in Germany, its regional correlates and international comparison," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 72-86.
    9. Bahrs, Michael & Schumann, Mathias, 2016. "Unlucky to Be Young? The Long-Term Effects of School Starting Age on Smoking Behaviour and Health," hche Research Papers 2016/13, University of Hamburg, Hamburg Center for Health Economics (hche).
    10. Daniel Muller & Lionel Page, 2016. "Born leaders: political selection and the relative age effect in the US Congress," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 179(3), pages 809-829, June.
    11. Morrill, Melinda Sandler, 2011. "The effects of maternal employment on the health of school-age children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 240-257, March.
    12. Rasmus Landersø & Helena Skyt Nielsen & Marianne Simonsen, 2017. "School Starting Age and the Crime‐age Profile," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(602), pages 1096-1118, June.
    13. Mühlenweg, Andrea & Blomeyer, Dorothea & Stichnoth, Holger & Laucht, Manfred, 2012. "Effects of age at school entry (ASE) on the development of non-cognitive skills: Evidence from psychometric data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 68-76.
    14. Chorniy, Anna & Kitashima, Leah, 2016. "Sex, drugs, and ADHD: The effects of ADHD pharmacological treatment on teens' risky behaviors," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 87-105.
    15. Daniel Muller & Lionel Page, 2013. "Political Selection and the Relative Age Effect," QuBE Working Papers 009, QUT Business School.

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