Long-Term Consequences of Childhood ADHD on Criminal Activities

39 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2009

See all articles by Jason M. Fletcher

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs; Yale University - School of Public Health

Barbara Wolfe

University of Wisconsin-Madison; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); RSSS-economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 14, 2009

Abstract

The question of whether childhood mental illness has long term consequences in terms of criminal behavior has been little studied, yet it could have major consequences for both the individual and society more generally. In this paper, we focus on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), one of the most prevalent mental conditions in school-age children, to examine the long-term effects of childhood mental illness on criminal activities, controlling for a rich set of individual, family, and community level variables. The empirical estimates show that children who experience ADHD symptoms face a substantially increased likelihood of engaging in many types of criminal activities. An included “back-of-the-envelope” calculation of the social costs associated with criminal activities by individuals with childhood ADHD finds the costs to be substantial.

Keywords: Mental Illness, ADHD, Crime, Sibling Fixed Effects

JEL Classification: I1, J01

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Jason M. and Wolfe, Barbara L., Long-Term Consequences of Childhood ADHD on Criminal Activities (October 14, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1489147 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1489147

Jason M. Fletcher (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

Barbara L. Wolfe

University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )

Social Science Bldg
Madison, WI 53706
United States
6082626358 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

RSSS-economics ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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