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Fathers and Youth's Delinquent Behavior

Author

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  • Deborah Cobb-Clark

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

  • Erdal Tekin

    (Department of Economics, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); and National Bureau of Economic Research)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relationship between having one or more father figures and the likelihood that young people engage in delinquent criminal behavior. We pay particular attention to distinguishing the roles of residential and non-residential, biological fathers as well as stepfathers. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we find that adolescent boys engage in more delinquent behavior if there is no father figure in their lives. However, adolescent girls' behavior is largely independent of the presence (or absence) of their fathers. The strong effect of family structure is not explained by the lack of paternal involvement that generally comes with fathers' absence, even though adolescents, especially boys, who spend time doing things with their fathers usually have better outcomes. There is also a link between adult delinquent behavior and adolescent family structure that cannot be explained by fathers' involvement with their adolescent sons and is only partially explained by fathers' involvement with their adolescent daughters. Finally, the strong link between adolescent family structure and delinquent behavior is not accounted for by the income differentials associated with fathers' absence. Our results suggest that the presence of a father figure during adolescence is likely to have protective effects, particularly for males, in both adolescence and young adulthood.

Suggested Citation

  • Deborah Cobb-Clark & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "Fathers and Youth's Delinquent Behavior," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2011n23, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2011n23
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Corman, Hope & Dave, Dhaval & Kalil, Ariel & Reichman, Nancy E., 2018. "Reprint of: Effects of maternal work incentives on youth crime," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 193-209.
    2. Deborah Cobb-Clark & Erdal Tekin, 2014. "Fathers and youths’ delinquent behavior," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 327-358, June.
    3. Sundström, Marianne, 2013. "Growing up in a blended family or a stepfamily: What is the impact on education?," Working Paper Series 2/2013, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    4. D. Mark Anderson & Resul Cesur & Erdal Tekin, 2015. "Youth Depression And Future Criminal Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(1), pages 294-317, January.
    5. Gørtz, Mette & Johansen, Eva Rye & Simonsen, Marianne, 2018. "Academic achievement and the gender composition of preschool staff," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 241-258.
    6. Kwok Chan & Ka Fung & Ender Demir, 2015. "The health and behavioral outcomes of out-of-wedlock children from families of social fathers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 385-411, June.
    7. Doris, Aedín & O’Neill, Donal & Sweetman, Olive, 2013. "Gender, single-sex schooling and maths achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 104-119.
    8. Chan, Kwok Ho & Fung, Ka Wai Terence, 2018. "The effect of social fathers on the cognitive skills of out-of-wedlock children in the U.S," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 146-159.
    9. Sarah Grace See, 2013. "The Riskiest of Them All: Parental Supervision and Adolescent Behaviors," CHILD Working Papers Series 21, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
    10. Sarah See, 2016. "Parental supervision and adolescent risky behaviors," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 185-206, March.
    11. Marie-Christine Saint-Jacques & Élisabeth Godbout & Sylvie Drapeau & Toula Kourgiantakis & Claudine Parent, 2018. "Researching Children’s Adjustment in Stepfamilies: How is it Studied? What Do we Learn?," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 11(6), pages 1831-1865, December.
    12. Astrid Würtz Rasmussen & Leslie S. Stratton, 2016. "How distance to a non-resident parent relates to child outcomes," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 829-857, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fathers; adolescence; family structure; crime; delinquent behavior;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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