The Effect of Sexual Abstinence on Females' Educational Attainment

50 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2007 Last revised: 29 Apr 2009

See all articles by Joseph J. Sabia

Joseph J. Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 15, 2008

Abstract

A number of studies have shown that teenagers who abstain from sex are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college than their sexually active peers. However, it is unclear whether this association represents a causal relationship or can be explained by unmeasured heterogeneity. We employ a variety of statistical techniques to distinguish between these hypotheses using data on females from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Our results provide evidence that delaying first intercourse leads to an increased likelihood of graduating high school. This relationship appears to be strongest among respondents in the bottom third of the ability distribution. Controlling for fertility reduces, but does not eliminate, the estimated effect of delaying intercourse.

Keywords: abstinence, schooling, teen pregnancy

JEL Classification: I21, J13, I10

Suggested Citation

Sabia, Joseph J. and Rees, Daniel I., The Effect of Sexual Abstinence on Females' Educational Attainment (August 15, 2008). Demography, Forthcoming, iHEA 2007 6th World Congress: Explorations in Health Economics Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=994856

Joseph J. Sabia (Contact Author)

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80218
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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