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The Effects Of Statutory Rape Laws On Nonmarital Teenage Childbearing


Many policy makers view the enforcement of statutory rape laws as a way to reduce teenage childbirths. This article considers whether unmarried teenage girls covered by a state statutory rape law are less likely to give birth than girls who are not covered by a statutory rape law. The presence of statutory rape laws is negatively correlated with nonmarital birthrates for white females but is not a significant predictor for black or Hispanic females. In contrast, the enforcement of statutory rape laws has a deterrent effect on teen childbearing for blacks and Hispanics but not for whites. (JEL "J13,""K14") Copyright 2006 Western Economic Association International.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 24 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 35-51

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Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:24:y:2006:i:1:p:35-51
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  1. D. Klepinger & S. Lundberg & R. Plotnick, . "How Does Adolescent Fertility Affect the Human Capital and Wages of Young Women?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1145-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  2. B. D. McCullough & H. D. Vinod, 2003. "Verifying the Solution from a Nonlinear Solver: A Case Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 873-892, June.
  3. V. Joseph Hotz & Seth G. Sanders & Susan Williams McElroy, 1999. "Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences: Exploiting a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 7397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Wolfe, Barbara & Wilson, Kathryn & Haveman, Robert, 2001. "The role of economic incentives in teenage nonmarital childbearing choices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 473-511, September.
  5. Arline T. Geronimus & Sanders Korenman, 1992. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1187-1214.
  6. R. D. Plotnick, . "The effect of attitudes on teenage premarital pregnancy and its resolution," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 965-92, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  7. Joyce, Theodore & Kaestner, Robert, 1996. "State reproductive policies and adolescent pregnancy resolution: The case of parental involvement laws," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 579-607, October.
  8. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 1999. "Welfare, Marital Prospects, and Nonmarital Childbearing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S3-S32, December.
  9. Gerald S. Oettinger, 1999. "The Effects of Sex Education on Teen Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 606-635, June.
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