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Do Stimulant Medications Improve Educational and Behavioral Outcomes for Children with ADHD?

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  • Janet Currie
  • Mark Stabile
  • Lauren E. Jones

Abstract

We examine the effects of a policy change in the province of Quebec, Canada which greatly expanded insurance coverage for prescription medications. We show that the change was associated with a sharp increase in the use of stimulant medications commonly prescribed for ADHD in Quebec relative to the rest of Canada. We ask whether this increase in medication use was associated with improvements in emotional functioning or academic outcomes among children with ADHD. We find little evidence of improvement in either the medium or the long run. Our results are silent on the effects on optimal use of medication for ADHD, but suggest that expanding medication in a community setting had little positive benefit and may have had harmful effects given the average way these drugs are used in the community.

Suggested Citation

  • Janet Currie & Mark Stabile & Lauren E. Jones, 2013. "Do Stimulant Medications Improve Educational and Behavioral Outcomes for Children with ADHD?," NBER Working Papers 19105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19105
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, August.
    2. Hartog,Joop & Maassen van den Brink,Henriëtte (ed.), 2009. "Human Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521117562, April.
    3. 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.
    4. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2009. "Appendix to "Mental Health in Childhood and Human Capital"," NBER Chapters,in: The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Cuellar, Alison Evans & Markowitz, Sara, 2007. "Medicaid policy changes in mental health care and their effect on mental health outcomes," Health Economics, Policy and Law, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(01), pages 23-49, January.
    6. Susan Griffin & Helen Weatherly & Gerry Richardson & Mike Drummond, 2008. "Methodological issues in undertaking independent cost-effectiveness analysis for NICE: the case of therapies for ADHD," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 9(2), pages 137-145, May.
    7. 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.
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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. Yamaguchi, Shintaro & Asai, Yukiko & Kambayashi, Ryo, 2017. "How Does Early Childcare Enrollment Affect Children, Parents, and Their Interactions?," Discussion Paper Series 656, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    3. Chorniy, Anna & Kitashima, Leah, 2016. "Sex, drugs, and ADHD: The effects of ADHD pharmacological treatment on teens' risky behaviors," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 87-105.
    4. Dalsgaard, Søren & Nielsen, Helena Skyt & Simonsen, Marianne, 2014. "Consequences of ADHD medication use for children's outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 137-151.
    5. Chorniy, Anna, 2016. "Sex, Drugs, and ADHD: The Effects of ADHD Pharmacological Treatment on Teens' Risky Behaviors," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145766, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Shintaro Yamaguchi & Yukiko Asai & Ryo Kambayashi, 2017. "How Does Early Childcare Enrollment Affect Children, Parents, and Their Interactions?," Department of Economics Working Papers 2017-05, McMaster University.
    7. Schwandt, Hannes & Wuppermann, Amelie, 2016. "The youngest get the pill: ADHD misdiagnosis in Germany, its regional correlates and international comparison," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 72-86.
    8. Hannes Schwandt & Amelie Wuppermann, 2015. "The youngest Get the Pill: ADHD Misdiagnosis and the Production of Education in Germany," CEP Discussion Papers dp1394, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    9. Cornaglia, Francesca & Crivellaro, Elena & McNally, Sandra, 2015. "Mental health and education decisions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 1-12.

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    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General

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