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The Effects of Childhood ADHD on Adult Labor Market Outcomes

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  • Jason Fletcher

Abstract

While several types of mental illness, including substance abuse disorders, have been linked with poor labor market outcomes, no current research has been able to examine the effects of childhood ADHD. As ADHD has become one of the most prevalent childhood mental conditions, it is useful to understand the full set of consequences of the illness. This paper uses a longitudinal national sample, including sibling pairs, to show important labor market outcome consequences of ADHD. The employment reduction is between 10-14 percentage points, the earnings reduction is approximately 33%, and the increase in social assistance is 15 points, which are larger than many estimates of the black-white earnings gap and the gender earnings gap. A small share of the link is explained by education attainments and co-morbid health conditions and behaviors. The results also show important differences in labor market consequences by family background and age of onset. These findings, along with similar research showing that ADHD is linked with poor education outcomes and adult crime, suggest that treating childhood ADHD can substantially increase the acquisition of human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Fletcher, 2013. "The Effects of Childhood ADHD on Adult Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 18689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18689
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Duane E. Leigh & Andrew M. Gill, 1997. "Labor Market Returns to Community Colleges: Evidence for Returning Adults," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(2), pages 334-353.
    2. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Chorniy & Janet Currie & Lyudmyla Sonchak, 2017. "Exploding Asthma and ADHD Caseloads: The Role of Medicaid Managed Care," NBER Working Papers 23983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Baert, Stijn & Omey, Eddy & Verhaest, Dieter & Vermeir, Aurélie, 2015. "Mister Sandman, bring me good marks! On the relationship between sleep quality and academic achievement," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 91-98.
    3. Andersen, Martin, 2015. "Heterogeneity and the effect of mental health parity mandates on the labor market," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 74-84.
    4. Xu, Yilan & Beller, Andrea H. & Roberts, Brent W. & Brown, Jeffrey R., 2015. "Personality and young adult financial distress," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 90-100.
    5. repec:eee:jbvent:v:32:y:2017:i:6:p:627-656 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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