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Adult labour market implications of antisocial behaviour in childhood and adolescence: findings from a UK longitudinal study


  • Andrew Healey
  • Martin Knapp
  • David Farrington


While antisocial behaviour in younger age groups is largely viewed as a public externality issue, there are also reasons for expecting less favourable life-course outcomes for those individuals who follow antisocial developmental pathways. Data from a UK longitudinal study of delinquent development in a cohort of working class boys are used to model the adult labour market implications of different antisocial developmental pathways to age 32. A series of probit estimations suggests that children identified as troublesome by peers and teachers at an early age, and who subsequently engaged in delinquent behaviour throughout their adolescence, had a significantly higher probability of experiencing long periods of time out of the workforce prior to age 32 and lengthy periods of unemployment and/or low paid work at both age 18 and at age 32. A Heckman selectivity model estimated on weekly earnings at age 32 does not provide evidence that antisocial development in children and adolescents is associated with a lower wage. However, the findings from a two-part model suggest that antisocial boys will have significantly lower levels of expected earnings from employment at 32 years--an effect that is almost entirely the result of lower rates of workforce participation. While a full causal, structural model of labour outcomes is not developed, there is tentative evidence that relatively poor employment outcomes for antisocial boys are mediated through poor educational attainment at secondary school and higher rates of criminal conviction in early adulthood.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Healey & Martin Knapp & David Farrington, 2004. "Adult labour market implications of antisocial behaviour in childhood and adolescence: findings from a UK longitudinal study," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 93-105.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:36:y:2004:i:2:p:93-105
    DOI: 10.1080/0003684042000174001

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Emanuele Millemaci & Dario Sciulli, 2011. "The causal effect of family difficulties during childhood on adult labour market outcomes," CEIS Research Paper 203, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 30 Jun 2011.
    2. Bauer, Annette & Pawlby, S. & Plant, D. T. & King, Derek & Pariante, C. M. & Knapp, M., 2015. "Perinatal depression and child development: exploring the economic consequences from a South London cohort," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 57718, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Lundin, Andreas & Hemmingsson, Tomas, 2013. "Adolescent predictors of unemployment and disability pension across the life course – a longitudinal study of selection in 49 321 Swedish men," Working Paper Series 2013:25, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    4. Sciulli, Dario, 2012. "Child Social Maladjustment and Adult Employment Dynamics," MPRA Paper 36711, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Knapp, Martin & King, Derek & Healey, Andrew & Thomas, Cicely, 2011. "Economic outcomes in adulthood and their associations with antisocial conduct, attention deficit and anxiety problems in childhood," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 38200, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. John Robst & Jennifer VanGilder, 2011. "The role of childhood sexual victimization in the occupational choice of adults," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 341-354.
    7. Sciulli, Dario, 2016. "Adult employment probabilities of socially maladjusted children," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 9-22.

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