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Does Placing Children in Foster Care Increase Their Adult Criminality?

Listed author(s):
  • Lindquist, Matthew J.

    ()

    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

  • Santavirta, Torsten

    ()

    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

We evaluate the association between foster care placement during childhood and adult criminality. In contrast to previous studies, we allow associations to vary by gender and age at initial placement. We find that foster care predicts higher adult criminality for males first placed during adolescence (ages 13–18). We find no significant association for boys who were placed in foster care before age 13 and no significant association on the adult criminality of girls. These null findings stand in stark contrast to the poor outcomes reported in earlier work concerning the long-run effects of foster care.

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Paper provided by Swedish Institute for Social Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 3/2013.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 19 Aug 2013
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2013_003
Contact details of provider: Postal:
SOFI, Stockholm University, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden

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Web page: http://www.sofi.su.se/

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  1. 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.
  2. Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 863-876, June.
  3. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
  4. William P. Warburton & Rebecca N. Warburton & Arthur Sweetman & Clyde Hertzman, 2014. "The Impact of Placing Adolescent Males into Foster Care on Education, Income Assistance, and Convictions," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 47(1), pages 35-69, February.
  5. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
  6. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  7. Christina Paxson & Jane Waldfogel, 2003. "Welfare reforms, family resources, and child maltreatment," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 85-113.
  8. Randi Hjalmarsson & Helena Holmlund & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2015. "The Effect of Education on Criminal Convictions and Incarceration: Causal Evidence from Micro‐data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(587), pages 1290-1326, 09.
  9. Vinnerljung, Bo & Sundell, Knut & Lofholm, Cecilia Andree & Humlesjo, Eva, 2006. "Former Stockholm child protection cases as young adults: Do outcomes differ between those that received services and those that did not?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-77, January.
  10. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.
  11. Christina Paxson & Jane Waldfogel, 2002. "Work, Welfare, and Child Maltreatment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 435-474, July.
  12. Christopher Swann & Michelle Sylvester, 2006. "The foster care crisis: What caused caseloads to grow," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(2), pages 309-335, May.
  13. Joseph J. Doyle Jr., 2008. "Child Protection and Adult Crime: Using Investigator Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of Foster Care," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 746-770, 08.
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