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Community-Wide Job Loss and Teenage Fertility

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  • Elizabeth Ananat
  • Anna Gassman-Pines
  • Christina M. Gibson-Davis
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    Abstract

    We estimate the effects of economic downturns on the birth rates of 15- to 19-year-olds, using county-level business closings and layoffs in North Carolina over 1990-2010 as a plausibly exogenous source of variation in the strength of the local economy. We find little effect of job losses on the white teen birth rate. For black teens, however, job losses to 1% of the working-age population decrease the birth rate by around 2%. Birth declines start five months after the job loss and then last for over a year. Linking the timing of job losses and conceptions suggests that black teen births decline due to increased terminations and perhaps also changes in pre-pregnancy behaviors; national data on risk behaviors also provide evidence that black teens reduce sexual activity and increase contraception use in response to job losses. Job losses seven to nine months after conception do not affect teen birth rates, indicating that teens do not anticipate job losses and lending confidence that job losses are “shocks” that can be viewed as quasi-experimental variation. We also find evidence that relatively advantaged black teens disproportionately abort after job losses, implying that the average child born to a black teen in the wake of job loss is relatively more disadvantaged.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19003.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19003

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    1. Stevens, Ann Huff, 1997. "Persistent Effects of Job Displacement: The Importance of Multiple Job Losses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 165-88, January.
    2. Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio, 2009. "Growing Up in a Recession: Beliefs and the Macroeconomy," CEPR Discussion Papers 7399, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip B. Levine & Douglas Staiger, 2009. "Abortion and Selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 124-136, February.
    4. Jeremy Arkes & Jacob Klerman, 2009. "Understanding the link between the economy and teenage sexual behavior and fertility outcomes," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 517-536, July.
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    6. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Anna Gassman-Pines & Dania V. Francis & Christina M. Gibson-Davis, 2011. "Children Left Behind: The Effects of Statewide Job Loss on Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 17104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    11. Dan A. Black & Terra G. McKinnish & Seth G. Sanders, 2005. "Tight labor markets and the demand for education: Evidence from the coal boom and bust," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 59(1), pages 3-16, October.
    12. Chamberlain, Gary, 1982. "Multivariate regression models for panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 5-46, January.
    13. Jason Fletcher, 2007. "Social multipliers in sexual initiation decisions among U.S. high school students," Demography, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 373-388, May.
    14. Julian R. Betts & Laurel L. McFarland, 1995. "Safe Port in a Storm: The Impact of Labor Market Conditions on Community College Enrollments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 741-765.
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