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Youth Depression and Future Criminal Behavior

Author

Listed:
  • D. Mark Anderson
  • Resul Cesur
  • Erdal Tekin

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • D. Mark Anderson & Resul Cesur & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Youth Depression and Future Criminal Behavior," NBER Working Papers 18656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18656
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Donati, Dante & Durante, Ruben & Sobbrio, Francesco & Zejcirovic, Dijana, 2022. "Lost in the Net? Broadband Internet and Youth Mental Health," IZA Discussion Papers 15202, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Giulietti, Corrado & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Zenou, Yves, 2022. "Peers, gender, and long-term depression," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    4. Wang, Deshen & Chen, Bintong & Chen, Jing, 2019. "Credit card fraud detection strategies with consumer incentives," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 179-195.
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    7. Resul Cesur & Joseph J. Sabia & Erdal Tekin, 2020. "Post-9/11 War Deployments Increased Crime among Veterans," NBER Working Papers 27279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. McNamee, Paul & Mendolia, Silvia & Yerokhin, Oleg, 2021. "Social media use and emotional and behavioural outcomes in adolescence: Evidence from British longitudinal data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    9. Bhuller, Manudeep & Khoury, Laura & Løken, Katrine V., 2021. "Prison, Mental Health and Family Spillovers," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 19/2021, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    10. Harsman Tandilittin, 2016. "What should the Government do to Stop Epidemic of Smoking among Teenagers in Indonesia?," Asian Culture and History, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 8(1), pages 140-140, March.
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    12. Cui, Ying & Liu, Hong & Zhao, Liqiu, 2019. "Mother's education and child development: Evidence from the compulsory school reform in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 669-692.

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    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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