Freakonomics when helping hurts

Freakonomics when helping hurts

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The “Cambridge-Somerville Youth Research” was a fascinating study in not only building information in the human sciences, but also using experimental methods to arrive at findings that appear entirely counterintuitive: that mentorship services can cause more harm than not intervening in the lives of children considered at risk. This is discussed in great depth in the Freakonomics episode referenced below.
First and foremost, do no harm. It’s a fundamental medical principle. When we intervene in people’s lives, even with the best of intentions, we must consider whether we are causing them harm. Unfortunately, charities have not embraced this main idea from the medical profession.

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We looked at a study that looked at the relationship between employment and family structure in the previous episode. The results were unexpected and, to be honest, a little depressing. The fracking boom, which has created many good jobs for less trained men, has also resulted in a mini-baby boom. As one would expect from economics. When people’s financial situations are stable, they are more likely to have more children. However, economic theory suggests that as people’s financial conditions change, they are more likely to form families rather than just have babies. Who, however, did not occur. Unmarried mothers now account for about 40% of all babies born in the United States, a significant rise over the last few decades. The researchers had believed and hoped that good employment would lead to more stable families when they started the fracking report. It didn’t work out.
As you might be aware, children born into less stable families are at a far higher risk of poor life outcomes in terms of schooling, health, income, and so on. So, if there are more and more of these at-risk children being born, how can society better assist them? That is the subject of today’s episode. We’ll start in Los Angeles for a moment…

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In the history of criminology, the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study was the first large-scale randomised experiment.

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Dr. Richard Cabot, a Boston physician, initiated an experiment to determine the effects of early intervention in preventing or lowering rates of juvenile delinquency, and it was commissioned in 1936. Edwin Powers and Helen Witmer founded it in 1939. [two] [3]
506 boys between the ages of 5 and 13 who lived in youth facilities in eastern Massachusetts were chosen and carefully matched into either a treatment or a control group for the study. Academic tutoring, medical and mental care, and referrals to YMCA, Boy Scouts, summer camps, and community services were all given to the boys in the treatment group. The only instruction given to the boys in the control group was to report on a regular basis. [2] [number four] [5] According to the authors, there was either no difference or a higher rate of negative outcomes in the original and ten-year follow-ups. [2] About 95 percent of the participants were tracked down by public records and questioned by Joan McCord 30 years after the original experiment. (5) [number six]

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Dubner examined a long-term thesis that started during the Great Depression and continues to this day. Dr. Richard Clark Cabot commissioned what became known as the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study in the 1930s. The researchers studied the impact of traditional approaches including mentoring, therapy, homework assistance, and summer camp.
They demonstrate that these positive services may not have the desired effect of assisting at-risk youth. In reality, the recipients of these programs suffer as a result of these programs.
The short response is that these services have little impact on their target audience’s circumstances. Yeah, they are exposed to better opportunities and receive occasional assistance, but at the end of the day, they lack the full set of processes and systems needed for success. Their surroundings are also a factor. These services do not alter the fact that they are constantly surrounded by people who share their conditions, such as poverty, violence, unemployment, illiteracy, imprisonment, and the absence of a parent (s).

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