How Does Access to Health Care Affect Teen Fertility and High School Dropout Rates? Evidence from School-Based Health Centers

61 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2016 Last revised: 12 Mar 2016

See all articles by Michael Lovenheim

Michael Lovenheim

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Randall Reback

Columbia University, Barnard College - Department of Economics

Leigh Wedenoja

Cornell University

Date Written: February 2016

Abstract

Children from low-income families face persistent barriers to accessing high-quality health care services. Previous research studies have examined the importance of expanding children's health insurance coverage, but there is little prior evidence concerning the impacts of directly expanding primary health care access to this population. We address this gap in the literature by exploring whether teenagers' access to primary health care influences their fertility and educational attainment. We study how the significant expansion of school-based health centers (SBHCs) in the United States since the early 1990's has affected teen fertility and high school dropout rates. Our results indicate that school-based health centers have a negative effect on teen birth rates: adding services equivalent to the average SBHC reduces the 15-18 year old birth rate by 5%. The effects are largest among younger teens and among African Americans and Hispanics. However, primary care health services do not reduce high school dropout rates by very much despite the sizable reductions in teen birth rates

Suggested Citation

Lovenheim, Michael and Reback, Randall L. and Wedenoja, Leigh, How Does Access to Health Care Affect Teen Fertility and High School Dropout Rates? Evidence from School-Based Health Centers (February 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22030. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2739556

Michael Lovenheim (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Randall L. Reback

Columbia University, Barnard College - Department of Economics ( email )

3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Leigh Wedenoja

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
9
Abstract Views
102
PlumX Metrics