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Fathers and Youth's Delinquent Behavior

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  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.

    () (University of Sydney)

  • Tekin, Erdal

    () (American University)

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

  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Tekin, Erdal, 2011. "Fathers and Youth's Delinquent Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 6042, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6042
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Shelly Lundberg, 2005. "Sons, Daughters, and Parental Behaviour," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 340-356, Autumn.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:labeco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:193-209 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Sarah Grace See, 2016. "Parental supervision and adolescent risky behaviors," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 185-206, March.
    8. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:28:y:2018:i:c:p:146-159 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; fathers; adolescence; family structure; delinquent behavior;

    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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