Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone&Apos;S Kids

31 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2008 Last revised: 6 Jun 2021

See all articles by Scott E. Carrell

Scott E. Carrell

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Mark Hoekstra

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2008

Abstract

It is estimated that between ten and twenty percent of children in the United States are exposed to domestic violence annually. While much is known about the impact of domestic violence and other family problems on children within the home, little is known regarding the extent to which these problems spill over to children outside the family. The widespread perception among parents and school officials is that these externalities are significant, though measuring them is difficult due to data and methodological limitations. We estimate the negative spillovers caused by children from troubled families by exploiting a unique data set in which children's school records are matched to domestic violence cases filed by their parent. To overcome selection bias, we identify the effects using the idiosyncratic variation in peers from troubled families within the same school and grade over time. We find that children from troubled families significantly decrease their peers' reading and math test scores and significantly increase misbehavior of others in the classroom. The effects are heterogeneous across income, race, and gender and appear to work primarily through troubled boys. The results are robust to within-sibling differences and we find no evidence that non-random selection is driving the results.

Suggested Citation

Carrell, Scott E. and Hoekstra, Mark, Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone&Apos;S Kids (August 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14246, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1231694

Scott E. Carrell (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

Mark Hoekstra

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4714 Posvar Hall
230 S. Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.pitt.edu/facpage.php?uid=108

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