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Childhood Bullying and Labor Market Outcomes in The United States


  • Swati Mukerjee

    () (Bentley University)


This paper contributes to a nascent economic literature on bullying. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 data, I explored the relationship between childhood bullying and later earnings. Since males and females are usually subject to different kinds of bullying and coping strategies vary with age, I distinguished between pre-teen and teenage bullying by gender. After delineating the pathways by which being bullied could potentially lead to lower earnings, the analysis first considered the probability of being bullied either as a teenager or before the age of 12. Next, after a simple ordinary least squares analysis of a human capital earnings function, a detailed propensity score analysis with multiple matching schemes was undertaken separately for males and females, further subdivided by when bullying had occurred. Results indicated males bullied as teenagers had earnings 23% lower than their non-bullied counterparts. Females did not suffer this penalty, nor did children who were bullied only below the age of 12. However, being bullied in childhood increased significantly the probability of being bullied later. In terms of human capital formation and possible impact on later productivity, teen bullying may be affecting men the most. Current findings may also be useful in encouraging a targeted focus on those who may be in greater danger of being bullied. Children who have changed schools several times, males with a learning disability, or a vision, speech or hearing problem, and females with some kind of deformity would be targeted significantly more.

Suggested Citation

  • Swati Mukerjee, 2018. "Childhood Bullying and Labor Market Outcomes in The United States," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 46(3), pages 313-335, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:46:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11293-018-9587-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s11293-018-9587-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brown, Sarah & Taylor, Karl, 2008. "Bullying, education and earnings: Evidence from the National Child Development Study," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 387-401, August.
    2. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
    3. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Nick Drydakis, 2014. "Bullying at school and labour market outcomes," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(8), pages 1185-1211, October.
    5. Le, Anh T. & Miller, Paul W. & Heath, Andrew C. & Martin, Nick, 2005. "Early childhood behaviours, schooling and labour market outcomes: estimates from a sample of twins," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-17, February.
    6. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
    8. Glen R. Waddell, 2006. "Labor-Market Consequences of Poor Attitude and Low Self-Esteem in Youth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(1), pages 69-97, January.
    9. Mikael Lindahl, 2005. "Estimating the Effect of Income on Health and Mortality Using Lottery Prizes as an Exogenous Source of Variation in Income," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
    10. Guo, Shenyang & Barth, Richard P. & Gibbons, Claire, 2006. "Propensity score matching strategies for evaluating substance abuse services for child welfare clients," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 357-383, April.
    11. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
    12. McDonough, P. & Duncan, G.J. & Williams, D. & House, J., 1997. "Income dynamics and adult mortality in the United States, 1972 through 1989," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 87(9), pages 1476-1483.
    13. Harriet Orcutt Duleep, 1986. "Measuring the Effect of Income on Adult Mortality Using Longitudinal Administrative Record Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(2), pages 238-251.
    14. Marco Caliendo & Sabine Kopeinig, 2008. "Some Practical Guidance For The Implementation Of Propensity Score Matching," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 31-72, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ronald DeBeaumont & Robert Girtz, 2019. "The Mediation Effect of Self-Esteem on Weight and Earnings," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 47(4), pages 415-427, December.


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