Economic Consequences of Placing a Child for Adoption among Unmarried Teenage Mothers
28 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 5, 2019
Past research suggests that less than 1 percent of children born to unmarried teenage mothers are placed for adoption. This low rate of adoption placement is surprising given the large possible economic consequences of teenage childbearing. We document the economic consequences on the four groups of people most directly affected by the decision to place the child for adoption: the mother, the child, the future children of the mother, and the grandparents of the child. We find that, on average, the combined lifetime economic benefit to these four groups from the decision to place a child for adoption is well over a million dollars. While the decision to place a child for adoption involves consideration of multiple social, family, and child factors, the results in this paper suggest that policies that produce even a small increase in the fraction of unmarried teenage mothers placing their child for adoption could produce very large social returns.
Keywords: adoption, teenage childbearing
JEL Classification: J13
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