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http://ssrn.com/abstract=895178
 
 

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Does Child Abuse Cause Crime?


Erdal Tekin


Georgia State University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Janet Currie


National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Princeton University

April 2006

Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper No. 06-31
IZA Discussion Paper No. 2063

Abstract:     
Child maltreatment, which includes both child abuse and child neglect, is a major social problem. This paper focuses on measuring the effects of child maltreatment on crime using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). We focus on crime because it is one of the most socially costly potential outcomes of maltreatment, and because the proposed mechanisms linking maltreatment and crime are relatively well elucidated in the literature. Our work addresses many limitations of the existing literature on child maltreatment. First, we use a large national sample, and investigate different types of abuse in a similar framework. Second, we pay careful attention to identifying the causal impact of abuse, by using a variety of statistical methods that make differing assumptions. These methods include: Ordinary Least Squares (OLS), propensity score matching estimators, and twin fixed effects. Finally, we examine the extent to which the effects of maltreatment vary with socio-economic status (SES), gender, and the severity of the maltreatment.

We find that maltreatment approximately doubles the probability of engaging in many types of crime. Low SES children are both more likely to be mistreated and suffer more damaging effects. Boys are at greater risk than girls, at least in terms of increased propensity to commit crime. Sexual abuse appears to have the largest negative effects, perhaps justifying the emphasis on this type of abuse in the literature. Finally, the probability of engaging in crime increases with the experience of multiple forms of maltreatment as well as the experience of Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 64

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Date posted: April 6, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Tekin, Erdal and Currie, Janet, Does Child Abuse Cause Crime? (April 2006). Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper No. 06-31; IZA Discussion Paper No. 2063. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=895178 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.895178

Contact Information

Erdal Tekin (Contact Author)
Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )
University Plaza
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Atlanta, GA 30303
United States
404-651-3968 (Phone)
404-651-4985 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
Janet Currie
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
Princeton University ( email )
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
6092587393 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~jcurrie

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