Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1083527
 
 

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The Human Capital Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: Can We Really Know What They Are?


Jason M. Fletcher


Yale University - School of Public Health; University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

Barbara Wolfe


University of Wisconsin-Madison; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); RSSS-economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

November 1, 2007


Abstract:     
Whether giving birth as a teenager has negative economic consequences for the mother is a question that has been the topic of a substantial body of research, yet the answer remains controversial. In this paper, we build upon existing literature, especially the literature that uses the experience of teenagers who had a miscarriage as the appropriate comparison group. We show that miscarriages are not random events, but rather are likely correlated with (unobserved) community-level factors, casting some doubt on previous findings. Including community-level fixed effects in our specifications led to important changes in our estimates. By making use of information on the timing of miscarriages as well as birth control choices preceding the teenage pregnancies we construct more relevant control groups for teenage mothers. We find evidence that teenage childbearing likely reduces the probability of receiving a high school diploma by 5 to 10 percentage points, reduces annual income by $1,000 to $2,400, and may increase the probability of receiving cash assistance and decrease years of schooling.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 37

Keywords: Teenage Childbearing, Human Capital

JEL Classification: J13, J24

working papers series


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Date posted: January 16, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Jason M. and Wolfe, Barbara, The Human Capital Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: Can We Really Know What They Are? (November 1, 2007). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1083527 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1083527

Contact Information

Jason M. Fletcher (Contact Author)
Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )
PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States
University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )
1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States
Barbara L. Wolfe
University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )
Social Science Bldg
Madison, WI 53706
United States
6082626358 (Phone)
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany
RSSS-economics ( email )
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Feedback to SSRN


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