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Child Protection and Adult Crime: Using Investigator Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of Foster Care

Joseph J. Doyle Jr.
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 116, No. 4 (August 2008), pp. 746-770
DOI: 10.1086/590216
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/590216
Page Count: 25
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Child Protection and Adult Crime: Using Investigator Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of Foster Care
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Abstract

This paper uses the randomization of families to child protection investigators to estimate causal effects of foster care on adult crime. The analysis uses a new data set that links criminal justice data to child protection data in Illinois, and I find that investigators affect foster care placement. Children on the margin of placement are found to be two to three times more likely to enter the criminal justice system as adults if they were placed in foster care. One innovation describes the types of children on the margin of placement, a group that is more likely to include African Americans, girls, and young adolescents.

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