Education and Labor Market Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: Evidence Using the Timing of Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Fixed Effects

41 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2008 Last revised: 1 Apr 2008

See all articles by Jason M. Fletcher

Jason M. Fletcher

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

Barbara Wolfe

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

Date Written: March 2008

Abstract

The question of whether giving birth as a teenager has negative economic consequences for the mother remains controversial despite substantial research. 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 lead 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 as a young adult by $1,000 to $2,400, and may increase the probability of receiving cash assistance and decrease years of schooling.

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Jason M. and Wolfe, Barbara L., Education and Labor Market Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: Evidence Using the Timing of Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Fixed Effects (March 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w13847. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1104184

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

Barbara L. Wolfe (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )

Social Science Bldg
Madison, WI 53706
United States
6082626358 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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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

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