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Understanding the Cycle: Childhood Maltreatment and Future Crime

  • Janet Currie
  • Erdal Tekin

Child maltreatment is a major social problem. This paper focuses on measuring the relationship between child maltreatment and crime using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). We focus on crime because it is one of the most costly potential outcomes of maltreatment. Our work addresses two main limitations of the existing literature on child maltreatment. First, we use a large national sample, and investigate different types of maltreatment in a unified framework. Second, we pay careful attention to controlling for possible confounders using a variety of statistical methods that make differing assumptions. The results suggest that maltreatment greatly increases the probability of engaging in crime and that the probability increases with the experience of multiple forms of maltreatment.

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 47 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 509-549

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2012:ii:1:p:509-549
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  1. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Schennach, Susanne, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 4702, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. Janet Currie, 2008. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," NBER Working Papers 13987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Erdal Tekin & Sara Markowitz, 2008. "The Relationship between Suicidal Behavior and Productive Activities of Young Adults," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 300-331, October.
  5. 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.
  6. Nevin, Rick, 2007. "Understanding international crime trends: The legacy of preschool lead exposure," MPRA Paper 35338, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Reyes Jessica Wolpaw, 2007. "Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-43, October.
  8. Jeff Grogger & Michael Willis, 2000. "The Emergence Of Crack Cocaine And The Rise In Urban Crime Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 519-529, November.
  9. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  10. Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, 2007. "Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime," NBER Working Papers 13097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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