The Labor Market Consequences of Childhood Maladjustment


  • *Direct correspondence to Philip K. Robins, University of Miami, Department of Economics, PO Box 248126, Coral Gables, FL 33124 〈〉. We wish to acknowledge the encouragement and support of Andrew Cherlin and the insightful comments of the referees.


Objective. This article uses data from the National Child Development Survey on a cohort of individuals born in Great Britain during the first week of March 1958 to investigate whether educational attainment and labor force behavior 33 years later are affected by childhood behavioral problems that are exhibited at both age 7 and age 16.

Method. Regression methods are used to test hypotheses concerning these effects.

Results. Our results indicate that maladjusted children suffer economically when they reach adulthood. Maladjusted children perform worse on aptitude tests and have lower educational attainment. Maladjusted children also are less likely to be employed at age 33 and to have lower wages when employed. Part of the reduced employment and wages is the result of lower education, but part is also due to other factors.

Conclusion. Future research should investigate whether adult labor market outcomes vary with the type of behavioral problems exhibited at younger ages.