The Effects of Childhood ADHD on Adult Labor Market Outcomes

Jason Fletcher, Yale University

This paper presents the first examination of the labor market effects of childhood ADHD diagnosis. This paper uses a longitudinal national sample (Add Health), including sibling pairs, to find employment reductions between 10-14 percentage points, earnings reductions of approximately 33%, and increases in social assistance of 15 points, which are larger than many estimates of the black-white or female-male earnings gaps. A small share of the link is explained by education and health conditions and behaviors. These findings, along with research showing ADHD links with poor education outcomes and adult crime, suggest the importance of treating childhood ADHD to foster human capital.

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Presented in Session 106: Implications of Childhood Circumstances for Transitions to Adulthood in the U.S.