Economic Consequences of Placing a Child for Adoption among Unmarried Teenage Mothers

28 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2019

See all articles by Julie Hollenbaugh

Julie Hollenbaugh

Brigham Young University

Derek Monson

Sutherland Institute

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University

Josh Witter

Texas A&M University

Date Written: November 5, 2019

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Hollenbaugh, Julie and Monson, Derek and Price, Joseph and Witter, Josh, Economic Consequences of Placing a Child for Adoption among Unmarried Teenage Mothers (November 5, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3481328 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3481328

Julie Hollenbaugh

Brigham Young University ( email )

Provo, UT 84602
United States

Derek Monson

Sutherland Institute

Joseph Price (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University ( email )

130 FOB
Provo, UT 84604
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://economics.byu.edu/directory/joseph-p-price

Josh Witter

Texas A&M University ( email )

Langford Building A
798 Ross St.
College Station, TX 77843-3137
United States

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