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Fast Times at Ridgemont High? The Effect of Compulsory Schooling Laws on Teenage Births

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  • Sandra E. Black
  • Paul J. Devereaux
  • Kjell Salvanes

Abstract

Research suggests that teenage childbearing adversely affects both the outcomes of the mothers as well as those of their children. We know that low-educated women are more likely to have a teenage birth, but does this imply that policies that increase educational attainment reduce early fertility? This paper investigates whether increasing mandatory educational attainment through compulsory schooling legislation encourages women to delay childbearing. We use variation induced by changes in compulsory schooling laws in both the United States and Norway to estimate the effect in two very different institutional environments. We find evidence that increased compulsory schooling does in fact reduce the incidence of teenage childbearing in both the United States and Norway, and these results are quite robust to various specification checks. Somewhat surprisingly, we also find that the magnitude of these effects is quite similar in the two countries. These results suggest that legislation aimed at improving educational outcomes may have spillover effects onto the fertility decisions of teenagers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10911.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10911

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References

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  1. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2003. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," IZA Discussion Papers 926, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  3. Francesconi, Marco, 2007. "Adult Outcomes for Children of Teenage Mothers," IZA Discussion Papers 2778, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence Katz, 2003. "Mass Secondary Schooling and the State," NBER Working Papers 10075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. V. Joseph Hotz & Susan Williams McElroy & Seth G. Sanders, 2005. "Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences: Exploiting a Natural Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
  6. David I. Levine & Gary Painter, 2003. "The Schooling Costs of Teenage Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing: Analysis with a Within-School Propensity-Score-Matching Estimator," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 884-900, November.
  7. Shelly Lundberg & Daniel Klepinger & Robert Plotnick, 1998. "Teen Childbearing and Human Capital: Does Timing Matter?," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0057, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  8. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2003. "Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration, and Juvenile Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1560-1577, December.
  9. Jennifer Hunt, 2003. "Teen Births Keep American Crime High," NBER Working Papers 9632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2002. "The Relationship Between Education and Adult Mortality in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  12. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Black, Sandra & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2003. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 4150, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Do Dropouts Drop Out Too Soon? Evidence from Changes in School-Leaving Laws," Working Papers oreo-03-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  15. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2000. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," NBER Working Papers 7527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2003. "Ability, parental background and educational policy: empirical evidence from a social experiment," IFS Working Papers W03/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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Cited by:
  1. Melissa S. Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2007. "Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Early Childbearing," NBER Working Papers 13436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Chaga Lopes, Margarida & Fernandes, Graca, 2010. "Success/Failure in Higher Education:how long does it take to complete some core 1st. year disciplines?," MPRA Paper 21953, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Philip Oreopoulos, 2007. "Would More Compulsory Schooling Help Disadvantaged Youth? Evidence from Recent Changes to School-Leaving Laws," NBER Chapters, in: The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective, pages 85-112 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Orazem, Peter & Glewwe, Paul & Patrinos, Harry, 2007. "The Benefits and Costs of Alternative Strategies to Improve Educational Outcomes," Staff General Research Papers 12853, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Leigh, Andrew & Ryan, Chris, 2008. "Estimating returns to education using different natural experiment techniques," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 149-160, April.
  6. Justin McCrary & Heather Royer, 2011. "The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 158-95, February.
  7. Gordon B. Dahl, 2005. "Early Teen Marriage and Future Poverty," NBER Working Papers 11328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alexander Murray & Andrew Sharpe, 2011. "Human Capital and Productivity in British Columbia," CSLS Research Reports 2011-10, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  9. Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2009. "The Causal Effect of Teen Motherhood on Worklessness," Studies in Economics 0917, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
  10. Díaz Serrano, Lluís & Pérez, Jessica Helen, 2013. "Impact of Duration of Primary Education on School Enrollment, Graduation and Drop-outs: A Cross- Country Analysis," Working Papers 2072/220757, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
  11. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne E. Page, 2006. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 729-760, October.

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