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The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered

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  • Arline T. Geronimus
  • Sanders Korenman
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    Abstract

    Teen childbearing is commonly viewed as an irrational behavior that leads to long-term socioeconomic disadvantage for mothers and their children. Cross-sectional studies that estimate relationships between maternal age at first birth and socioeconomic indicators measured later in life form the empirical basis for this view. However1 these studies have failed to account adequately for differences in family background among women who time their births at different ages. We present new estimates of the consequences of teen childbearing that take into account observed and unobserved family background heterogeneity, comparing sisters who have timed their first births at different ages. Sister comparisons suggest that previous estimates are biased by failure to control adequately for family background heterogeneity, and, as a result, have overstated the consequences of early fertility.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3701.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3701.

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    Date of creation: May 1991
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    Publication status: published as Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 1992, pp. 1187-1214
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3701

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    1. Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi & Hall, Bronwyn H, 1986. "Wages, Schooling and IQ of Brothers and Sisters: Do the Family Factors Differ?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 77-105, February.
    2. Freeman, Richard B, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
    3. Mark R. Rosenzweig & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1988. "Heterogeneity, Intrafamily Distribution, and Child Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 437-461.
    4. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Paula England & Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer & Lawrence L. Wu, 2012. "Premarital conceptions, postconception ("shotgun") marriages, and premarital first births," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 27(6), pages 153-166, July.
    2. David Neumark & Sanders Korenman, 1992. "Sources of Bias in Women's Wage Equations: Results Using Sibling Data," NBER Working Papers 4019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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