The Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: Consistent Estimates When Abortion Makes Miscarriage Non‐Random

31 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2013

See all articles by Adam B. Ashcraft

Adam B. Ashcraft

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Iván Fernández‐Val

Boston University - Department of Economics

Kevin Lang

Boston University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 2013

Abstract

Miscarriage, even if biologically random, is not socially random. Willingness to abort reduces miscarriage risk. Because abortions are favourably selected among pregnant teens, those miscarrying are less favourably selected than those giving birth or aborting but more favourably selected than those giving birth. Therefore, using miscarriage as an instrument is biased towards a benign view of teen motherhood, whereas ordinary least squares (OLS) on just those giving birth or miscarrying has the opposite bias. We derive a consistent estimator that reduces to a weighted average of OLS and IV when outcomes are independent of abortion timing. Estimated effects are generally adverse but modest.

Suggested Citation

Ashcraft, Adam B. and Fernandez-Val, Ivan and Lang, Kevin, The Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: Consistent Estimates When Abortion Makes Miscarriage Non‐Random (September 2013). The Economic Journal, Vol. 123, Issue 571, pp. 875-905, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2332929 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12005

Adam B. Ashcraft (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )

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Ivan Fernandez-Val

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Kevin Lang

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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