Risky Behavior Among Youths: An Economic Analysis

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Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide

Cruber and Zinman explore four aspects of the decision by youths to smoke. They find that smoking participation is not simply concentrated among the most disadvantaged youth; indeed, increasingly over time youth smoking is taking place among white, suburban youth who have college-educated parents and good grades. The authors also show that neither changes in demographic characteristics nor new attitudes toward smoking can explain the striking increase in smoking rates in the s.

Price is a powerful determinant of smoking for high school seniors, though. Analysis of data for the period suggests that the drop in cigarette prices in the early s can explain 30 percent of the subsequent upward smoking trend. However, price is not important for younger teens, although restrictions on access to cigarette purchases may lower the quantity that younger teens smoke. Finally, the authors demonstrate an important link between smoking as a youth and smoking later in life. This suggests that policies that stop youth from smoking can have long-lasting effects, and raises potential concerns about the long-run implications of the current rise in youth smoking.

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of deaths among young adults, but teen traffic safety has improved considerably in recent years.

An Economic Analysis

Between and , the teen traffic fatality rate has fallen by almost 25 percent, much more than among older drivers. The findings are published in Contemporary Economic Policy. The analysis of national survey data from the Add Health a school-based study of the health-related behaviors of adolescents and their outcomes in young adulthood found evidence that Minimum Legal Drinking Age MLDA laws produce sharp differences in alcohol consumption and a variety of risky behaviors related to alcohol use for youths on either side of the age 21 cutoff.

The MLDA reduces binge drinking by approximately 5 percentage points as well as a variety of other consumption measures. For males, there are marked increases in reports of drunk driving, risky sexual activities, violence, and interpersonal problems with friends. More research is needed to determine whether these results indicate a need to change the MLDA to age 18 or 25 or some other age.

Interestingly, the presence of a biological father in the household at age 14 is associated with lower levels of adult alcohol disorders or drug usage. Adolescents living with a single mother or single father at age 14 are less likely to have married by age 33 compared with those who lived in either intact or re-married families. We found similar associations when examining the relationship of parents' education to long-term adult outcomes.

Having more educated parents is associated with better economic outcomes and less likelihood of going to jail. However, there are contradictory results for the health domains where mothers' education is associated with lower likelihood of adult alcohol problems, but greater likelihood of adult drug usage. Fathers' education had exactly the opposite associations across the two outcomes.

These family structure and parents' education relationships generally held even when restricting the sample to those who initiated early into risky behaviors. The results for parents' education held even when further restricting the sample to either intact families or single mother households.

In This Article

There is a sense that although the family may not have prevented the youth from starting down a "wrong" path, it can help them from having that choice lead to bad consequences. Our results suggest that the ways in which parents help prevent bad outcomes for their children differ across different domains.


Type of army service and decision to engage in risky behavior among young people in Israel

For economic outcomes, parents can use their resources financial, networks, etc. There is probably a similar mechanism for keeping their children out of jail. However, for non-economic domains, particularly those of substance abuse, a different set of family processes contributes to an eventual healthy adulthood. Home Long-Term Impact of Adolescent Statement of the Problem The course of human development is not a series of random events.

  • Title : Risky Behavior among Youths : An Economic Analysis.
  • Risky Behavior Among Youths: An Economic Analysis!
  • Jonathan Gruber.
  • The methodological character of theoretical concepts;

In this report we explore the following questions: Do youths engaging in risky behaviors face worse outcomes as adults? Does the relationship between adolescent risky behaviors and adult outcomes vary by the type of behavior and the type of outcome? What is the relationship between family environment and adult outcomes? Given that a youth chooses to engage in a risky behavior, does family structure help reduce the likelihood of a bad adult outcome?

Risky behaviour among youths (Ground Zero Pt 1)

Within a given family structure, does socioeconomic status SES as measured by parents' education impact the likelihood of a bad adult outcome? Main Findings There is a fairly consistent pattern that engaging in risky behaviors as a teenager is associated with less successful adult outcomes.

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