Kim, Jinho (2020). Gender Differences in the Educational Penalty of Delinquent Behavior: Evidence from an Analysis of Siblings. Journal of Quantitative Criminology.
This study examines: (a) whether the association between juvenile delinquency and educational attainment differs by gender, and (b) which factors underlie such gender differences. In order to account for the influence of unobservable family-background factors, this study applies sibling fixed-effects models on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). As a sensitivity check, I explore whether observed gender differences are robust to different measurements of delinquency and the potential presence of sibling spillover effects. Nearly half of the association between juvenile delinquency and educational attainment is attributable to unobservable factors related to family background. This study finds that controlling for unobserved family-level heterogeneity substantially attenuates the association between juvenile delinquency and educational attainment among females, making it no longer statistically significant. Among males, sibling fixed-effects estimates suggest that a one-standard-deviation increase in delinquent involvement is associated with a reduction in 0.23 years of schooling and a 4.6 percentage point increase in the probability of high school dropout. Supplementary analyses show that male delinquents face major disadvantages in social relationships in school settings and display lower levels of educational aspirations as well as effort. No such patterns are found among female delinquents. This study finds a negative association between delinquency and educational attainment only for males but not for females. Results suggest that failure to account for unobserved family-level heterogeneity spuriously inflates the delinquency–education association to a larger extent among females than males.
Journal of Quantitative Criminology