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Youth Depression and Future Criminal Behavior

  • D. Mark Anderson
  • Resul Cesur
  • Erdal Tekin

While the contemporaneous association between mental health problems and criminal behavior has been explored in the literature, the long-term consequences of such problems, depression in particular, have received much less attention. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we examine the effect of depression during adolescence on the probability of engaging in a number of criminal behaviors later in life. In our analysis, we control for a rich set of individual, family, and neighborhood level factors to account for conditions that may be correlated with both childhood depression and adult criminality. One novelty in our approach is the estimation of school and sibling fixed effects models to account for unobserved heterogeneity at the neighborhood and family levels. Furthermore, we exploit the longitudinal nature of our data set to account for baseline differences in criminal behavior. We find little evidence that adolescent depression predicts the likelihood of engaging in violent crime or the selling of illicit drugs. However, our empirical estimates show that adolescents who suffer from depression face an increased probability of engaging in property crime. Our estimates imply that the lower-bound economic cost of property crime associated with adolescent depression is about 219 million dollars annually.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18656.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
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Publication status: published as 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, 01.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18656
Note: CH HE
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  1. Mocan, H Naci & Tekin, Erdal, 2006. "Guns and Juvenile Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 507-31, October.
  2. Currie, Janet & Stabile, Mark, 2006. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1094-1118, November.
  3. 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.
  4. Jason M. Fletcher, 2010. "Adolescent depression and educational attainment: results using sibling fixed effects," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(7), pages 855-871.
  5. Resul Cesur & Joseph J. Sabia & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "The Psychological Costs of War: Military Combat and Mental Health," NBER Working Papers 16927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  7. Janet Currie & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Understanding the Cycle: Childhood Maltreatment and Future Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 509-549.
  8. Rees, Daniel I. & Sabia, Joseph J. & Argys, Laura M., 2009. "A head above the rest: Height and adolescent psychological well-being," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 217-228, July.
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  10. Sabia, Joseph J. & Rees, Daniel I., 2008. "The effect of adolescent virginity status on psychological well-being," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1368-1381, September.
  11. Christopher Carpenter, 2007. "Heavy Alcohol Use and Crime: Evidence from Underage Drunk-Driving Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 539-557.
  12. H. Naci Mocan & Daniel I. Rees, 2005. "Economic Conditions, Deterrence and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from Micro Data," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 319-349.
  13. Fletcher, Jason & Wolfe, Barbara, 2008. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD revisited," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 794-800, May.
  14. Erdal Tekin & Sara Markowitz, 2005. "Suicidal Behavior and the Labor Market Productivity of Young Adults," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2005-003, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.
  15. Chris Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Child Care Subsidies, Maternal Well-Being, and Child-Parent Interactions: Evidence from Three Nationally Representative Datasets," Working Papers 1368, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  16. Dave E. Marcotte & Sara Markowitz, 2009. "A Cure for Crime? Psycho-Pharmaceuticals and Crime Trends," NBER Working Papers 15354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Pinka Chatterji & Margarita Alegria & David Takeuchi, 2008. "Psychiatric Disorders and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from the National Comorbidity Survey - Replication," NBER Working Papers 14404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Erdal Tekin & Naci Mocan & Lan Liang, 2009. "Do Adolescents with Emotional or Behavioral Problems Respond to Cigarette Prices?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 67-85, July.
  19. Jason M. Fletcher, 2008. "Adolescent depression: diagnosis, treatment, and educational attainment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1215-1235.
  20. Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2012. "Like Godfather, Like Son: Exploring the Intergenerational Nature of Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 550-582.
  21. Michael J. Boskin & Marc S. Robinson & John M. Roberts, 1985. "New Estimates of Federal Government Tangible Capital and Net Investment," NBER Working Papers 1774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  23. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
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