Quantitative Economics, Volume 12, Issue 3 (July 2021)
Bullying among adolescents: The role of skills
Bullying cannot be tolerated as a normal social behavior portraying a child's life. This paper quantifies its negative consequences allowing for the possibility that victims and nonvictims differ in unobservable characteristics. To this end, we introduce a factor analytic model for identifying treatment effects of bullying in which latent cognitive and noncognitive skills determine victimization and multiple outcomes. We use early test scores to identify the distribution of these skills. Individual‐, classroom‐ and district‐level variables are also accounted for. Applying our method to longitudinal data from South Korea, we first show that while noncognitive skills reduce the chances of being bullied during middle school, the probability of being victimized is greater in classrooms with relatively high concentration of boys, previously self‐assessed bullies and students that come from violent families. We report bullying at age 15 has negative effects on physical and mental health outcomes at age 18. We also uncover heterogeneous effects by latent skills, from which we document positive effects on the take‐up of risky behaviors and negative effects on schooling attainment. Our findings suggest that investing in noncognitive development should guide policy efforts intended to deter this problematic behavior.
Bullying cognitive and noncognitive skills unobserved heterogeneity C34 C38 I21 J24
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