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Child Protection and Adult Crime: Using Investigator Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of Foster Care

  • Joseph J. Doyle Jr.
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    This paper uses the randomization of families to child protection investigators to estimate causal effects of foster care on adult crime. The analysis uses a new data set that links criminal justice data to child protection data in Illinois, and I find that investigators affect foster care placement. Children on the margin of placement are found to be two to three times more likely to enter the criminal justice system as adults if they were placed in foster care. One innovation describes the types of children on the margin of placement, a group that is more likely to include African Americans, girls, and young adolescents. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/590216
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    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

    Volume (Year): 116 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 (08)
    Pages: 746-770

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:116:y:2008:i:4:p:746-770
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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    1. John J. Donohue III & Steven D. Levitt, 2001. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 379-420.
    2. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-90, June.
    3. Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "The Long-Run Consequences of Living in a Poor Neighborhood," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1533-1575.
    4. Janet Currie & Erdal Tekin, 2006. "Does Child Abuse Cause Crime?," NBER Working Papers 12171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Abadie, Alberto, 2003. "Semiparametric instrumental variable estimation of treatment response models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 231-263, April.
    6. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects and Econometric Policy Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 11259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Clive R Belfield & Milagros Nores & Steve Barnett & Lawrence Schweinhart, 2006. "The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program: Cost–Benefit Analysis Using Data from the Age-40 Followup," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    8. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Joseph J. Doyle Jr., 2007. "Child Protection and Child Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Foster Care," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1583-1610, December.
    10. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
    11. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
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