The Tragedy of Wasted Funds and Broken Dreams: An Economic Analysis of Childhood Exposure to Crime and Violence

60 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2019 Last revised: 26 Sep 2021

See all articles by Michal Gilad

Michal Gilad

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Abraham Gutman

Philadelphia Inquirer

Date Written: September 23, 2019


In 2012, Attorney General Eric E. Holder’s Task Force declared childhood exposure to crime and violence a “national crisis.” The problem of childhood crime exposure, which we previously coined the Triple-C Impact, is estimated to be one of the most damaging and costly public health and public safety problems in our society today. Yet, thus far no one knows how much it actually costs us.

This article aims to answer this daunting question and provide an empirical economic analysis of the cost of the Triple-C Impact problem to the state and to society.

Children whose lives are touched by crime are left with deep scars that gravely affect their mental and physical health, as well as their life outcomes. Such negative corollaries inflict hefty costs on the state and on society at large. In fact, our analysis reveal a total annual cost of over $496 billion each year.

Despite the severity and cost of the problem, little is done to help affected children recover. The analysis presented in this article will form the basis for an evidence-based argument as to the unparalleled economic benefits of investment in early intervention efforts to alleviate the injurious and costly outcomes for children affected by crime exposure.

Keywords: children; health; cost analysis; economic analysis; crime; victims; treatment; empirical methods; law and society; law and social science; law and economics

Suggested Citation

Gilad, Michal and Gutman, Abraham, The Tragedy of Wasted Funds and Broken Dreams: An Economic Analysis of Childhood Exposure to Crime and Violence (September 23, 2019). University of Illinois Law Review , Available at SSRN: or

Michal Gilad (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States

Abraham Gutman

Philadelphia Inquirer ( email )

400 North Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
United States

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