Economics of Adverse Childhood Treatment

The individuals’ well-being throughout their entire lives depends on their initial inherited endowments, on their/their parents’ subsequent investments and actions as well as on the environment in which they grow, act, and live. The recent literature in various fields, starting with the epidemiological/psychological one but also the sociologic and economic research, point out that early life (childhood and adolescence) is crucial in determining a set of late life outcomes, from health to education, socioeconomic status, income, etc. In this sense, adverse events/trauma in these life stages become of paramount importance since, from an economics perspective, they can be assimilated to “negative” investments. Indeed, a continuously extending literature documents that adverse childhood and adolescence experiences (ACEs) are associated with poor physical and mental health, unhealthy life styles, poor schooling performances, lower levels of education, higher unemployment, and lower income, with extremely high economic burden for the individuals and the society. Such evidence calls for sound and targeted policy interventions that to prevent adverse events in early offspring’s lives and to mitigate and correct as much as possible the negative effects for those children that were subject to trauma.

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