Kindergarten Mis-behavior and Societal Costs: What is the connection?

For the first time, an economic analysis has linked misbehavior among kindergarten pupils to significant societal costs, including criminality, associated medical expenses, and lost productivity as they grow up.

Importance of Early Intervention

Effective, evidence-based programs designed to address behavioral problems early in a child’s life can have long-term benefits. Such interventions can improve students’ well-being and potentially reduce the need for government services while lowering costs related to crime.

Research Methodology

The study involved a review of data from teacher and parent reports on conduct problems among over 1,300 kindergarten students. These data were gathered from two multi-site, longitudinal studies conducted in U.S. schools in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Government and administrative data were used to determine the costs associated with crimes committed by these students up to age 28.

Economic Impact of Behavioral Problems

Findings revealed that increased behavioral problems in kindergarten students were associated with significant costs. On average, each student with behavioral issues incurred over $144,000 in costs related to crime, medical expenses, and lost productivity as they reached adolescence and adulthood.

Categories of Costs

Approximately 42% of students with increased behavioral problems had costs related to crimes, including violence, substance use, public order, or property offenses. Additionally, 45% had costs related to government services utilization, 41% had costs related to medical services utilization, and 58% incurred costs in any of these categories.

Informing Budget Planning and Prevention

The data from this study can serve as valuable information for local, state, and national governments in their budget planning efforts. It highlights the importance of early intervention and support for children with conduct problems, as investing in effective prevention can yield economic benefits for individuals and public services in the long run.


    10 May 2024 at 22:22

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