Youth Depression and Future Criminal Behavior

24 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2014

See all articles by D. Mark Anderson

D. Mark Anderson

Montana State University - Bozeman - Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics

Resul Cesur

University of Connecticut, School of Business - Dept. of Healthcare Economics

Erdal Tekin

American University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2015

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 (Add 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. The empirical estimates show that adolescents who suffer from depression face a substantially increased probability of engaging in property crime. We find little evidence that adolescent depression predicts the likelihood of engaging in violent crime or the selling of illicit drugs. Our estimates imply that the lower-bound economic cost of property crime associated with adolescent depression is approximately 227 million dollars per year.

Suggested Citation

Anderson, D. Mark and Cesur, Resul and Tekin, Erdal, Youth Depression and Future Criminal Behavior (January 2015). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 53, Issue 1, pp. 294-317, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2528855 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12145

D. Mark Anderson (Contact Author)

Montana State University - Bozeman - Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics ( email )

Bozeman, MT 59717-2920
United States

Resul Cesur

University of Connecticut, School of Business - Dept. of Healthcare Economics ( email )

School of Business
2100 Hillside Road
Storrs, CT 06269
United States

Erdal Tekin

American University ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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