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American Economic Review: Vol. 97 No. 5 (December 2007)

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Child Protection and Child Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Foster Care

Article Citation

Doyle, Joseph J. Jr. 2007. "Child Protection and Child Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Foster Care." American Economic Review, 97(5): 1583-1610.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.5.1583

Abstract

Little is known about the effects of placing children who are abused or neglected into foster care. This paper uses the placement tendency of child protection investigators as an instrumental variable to identify causal effects of foster care on long-term outcomes—including juvenile delinquency, teen motherhood, and employment— among children in Illinois where a rotational assignment process effectively randomizes families to investigators. Large marginal treatment effect estimates suggest caution in the interpretation, but the results suggest that children on the margin of placement tend to have better outcomes when they remain at home, especially older children. (JEL H75, I38, J13)

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Authors

Doyle, Joseph J. Jr.(Sloan School of Management, MIT)

JEL Classifications

H75: State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
I38: Welfare and Poverty: Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth


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