Understanding Teenage Fertility, Cohabitation, and Marriage: The Case of Peru

39 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2016

See all articles by Marta Favara

Marta Favara

University of Oxford

Pablo Lavado

Universidad del Pacifico

Alan Sanchez

Central Reserve Bank of Peru


In this study, we used data from the Young Lives study, which investigates teenage childbearing, marriage, and cohabitation by tracking a cohort of individuals from the ages of 8 to 19 years. While the present analysis does not intend to establish causality, the longitudinal nature of the data allows us to identify the combination of early circumstances and life changes that induce a higher likelihood of these events. The analysis addresses bias both due to reverse causality and community characteristics that are usually unobserved and fixed over time, a strategy that is quite unique in studies of developing countries.About 1 out of 5 females (and 1 out of 20 males) in our sample had at least one child by the age of 19, and 80 percent of them were married or cohabiting. Early marriage/cohabitation is indeed intrinsically related to early pregnancy and largely predicted by the same factors. For females specifically, girls from poor households with an absent parent for a prolonged period have a higher risk of early childbearing. Similarly, girls whose self-efficacy and educational aspirations decrease over time are more at risk of becoming a mother during adolescence. Conversely, school attendance and better school performance predict a lower risk of early pregnancy; our analysis suggests that this is largely because it postpones the first sexual relationship.

Keywords: teenage fertility, cohabitation and marriage, Peru, Young Lives, longitudinal data

JEL Classification: J13, J14, J24

Suggested Citation

favara, marta and Lavado, Pablo and Sanchez, Alan, Understanding Teenage Fertility, Cohabitation, and Marriage: The Case of Peru. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10270, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2849755 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2849755

Marta Favara (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Pablo Lavado

Universidad del Pacifico ( email )

Av. Salaverry 2020
Región Metropolitana
Lima 18, Lima 11

Alan Sanchez

Central Reserve Bank of Peru ( email )

Jirón Miroquesada 441
Lima, Lima 1

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