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The effect of childhood conduct disorder on human capital

Author

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  • Suncica Vujic
  • Pierre Koning
  • Dinand Webbink
  • N. Martin

Abstract

This paper estimates the longer-term effects of childhood conduct disorder on human capital accumulation and violent and criminal behaviour later in life using data of Australian twins. This paper estimates the longer-term effects of childhood conduct disorder on human capital accumulation and violent and criminal behaviour later in life using data of Australian twins. We measure conduct disorder with a rich set of indicators based on diagnostic criteria from psychiatry (e.g., aggression to people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, and/or serious violations of rules). Using ordinary least squares (OLS) and twin fixed effects (FE) estimation approaches, we find that early (pre-18) conduct disorder problems significantly affect both human capital accumulation and violent and criminal behaviour over the life course. For instance, within pairs of identical twins we find that conduct disorder reduces the probability of high school graduation with 4 to 13 percent points and increases the probability of being arrested with 7 to 16 percent points. Robustness checks suggest that these estimates may be lower bounds of the true effects of conduct disorder. In addition, we find that conduct disorder is more deleterious if these behaviours occur earlier in life. We conclude that childhood mental health problems have high human and financial costs for families and society at large. Effective treatments early in life might yield high returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Suncica Vujic & Pierre Koning & Dinand Webbink & N. Martin, 2008. "The effect of childhood conduct disorder on human capital," CPB Discussion Paper 113, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:113
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre Koning & Dinand Webbink & Nicholas Martin, 2015. "The effect of education on smoking behavior: new evidence from smoking durations of a sample of twins," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 1479-1497, June.
    2. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 15, pages 1315-1486, Elsevier.
    3. Shannon Ward & Jenny Williams & Jan C. van Ours, 2021. "Delinquency, Arrest and Early School Leaving," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 83(2), pages 411-436, April.
    4. Hjalmarsson, Randi & Mitrut, Andreea & Pop-Eleches, Cristian, 2021. "The impact of abortion on crime and crime-related behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
    5. Dinand Webbink & Nicholas Martin & Peter Visscher, 2011. "Does teenage childbearing reduce investment in human capital?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 701-730, April.
    6. Millemaci, Emanuele & Sciulli, Dario, 2011. "The causal effect of family difficulties during childhood on adult labour market outcomes," MPRA Paper 29026, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Dinand Webbink & Pierre Koning & Sunčica Vujić & Nicholas G. Martin, 2013. "Why Are Criminals Less Educated than Non-Criminals? Evidence from a Cohort of Young Australian Twins," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 115-144, February.
    8. 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.
    9. Lundborg, Petter & Nilsson, Anton & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "Does Early Life Health Predict Schooling Within Twin Pairs?," IZA Discussion Papers 5803, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Michael Lebenbaum & Claire de Oliveira & France Gagnon & Audrey Laporte, 2024. "Child health and its effect on adult social capital accumulation," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(5), pages 844-869, May.
    11. Violeta Misheva & Dinand Webbink & Nicholas G. Martin, 2017. "The effect of child maltreatment on illegal and problematic behaviour: new evidence on the ‘cycle of violence’ using twins data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(4), pages 1035-1067, October.
    12. Donal O’Neill & Sinéad McGilloway & Michael Donnelly & Tracey Bywater & Paul Kelly, 2013. "A cost-effectiveness analysis of the Incredible Years parenting programme in reducing childhood health inequalities," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 14(1), pages 85-94, February.
    13. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2011. "Estimating the relation between health and education: What do we know and what do we need to know?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 778-791, October.

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    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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