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Did welfare reform influence the fertility of young teens?


  • Leonard M. Lopoo

    (Syracuse University)

  • Thomas DeLeire


During the 1990s, states made several reforms to their welfare programs designed to reduce teenage fertility among minors. Among the most prominent of these changes, states started requiring teenage mothers younger than 18 to live with a parent or legal guardian and enroll in high school in order to receive welfare benefits. Using natality data from the National Center for Health Statistics, we compare the trend in fertility rates for young women aged 15 to 17 to the trend for a control group of 18-year-olds. Our estimates imply that the annual percent decline in fertility rates following implementation of these minor parent provisions was 0.7 percentage points larger for young teens than for teens aged 18, a difference of over 22 percent. © 2006 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

Suggested Citation

  • Leonard M. Lopoo & Thomas DeLeire, 2006. "Did welfare reform influence the fertility of young teens?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(2), pages 275-298.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:25:y:2006:i:2:p:275-298 DOI: 10.1002/pam.20173

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lundberg, Shelly & Plotnick, Robert D, 1995. "Adolescent Premarital Childbearing: Do Economic Incentives Matter?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 177-200, April.
    2. An, Chong-Bum & Haveman, Robert & Wolfe, Barbara, 1993. "Teen Out-of-Wedlock Births and Welfare Receipt: The Role of Childhood Events and Economic Circumstances," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 195-208, May.
    3. Daniel Klepinger & Shelly Lundberg & Robert Plotnick, 1999. "How Does Adolescent Fertility Affect the Human Capital and Wages of Young Women?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 421-448.
    4. Greg Duncan & Saul Hoffman, 1990. "Welfare benefits, economic opportunities, and out-of-wedlock births among black teenage girls," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 27(4), pages 519-535, November.
    5. Williamson Hoyne, Hilary, 1997. "Does welfare play any role in female headship decisions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 89-117, August.
    6. Rebecca A London, 2000. "The interaction between single mothers' living arrangements and welfare participation," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 93-117.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas DeLeire & Leonard Lopoo & Kosali Simon, 2011. "Medicaid Expansions and Fertility in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(2), pages 725-747, May.
    2. Marcén, Miriam & Bellido, Héctor, 2013. "Teen Mothers and Culture," MPRA Paper 44712, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Robert D. Plotnick & Irwin Garfinkel & Sara S. McLanahan & Inhoe Ku, 2007. "The impact of child support enforcement policy on nonmarital childbearing," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 79-98.
    4. Kearney, Melissa S. & Levine, Phillip B., 2015. "Investigating recent trends in the U.S. teen birth rate," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 15-29.
    5. Kasey S. Buckles & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2016. "The Incidental Fertility Effects of School Condom Distribution Programs," NBER Working Papers 22322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Lincoln Groves & Sarah Hamersma & Leonard M. Lopoo, 2017. "Pregnancy Medicaid Expansions and Fertility: Differentiating between the Intensive and Extensive Margins," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 206, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    7. Corman, Hope & Dave, Dhaval & Kalil, Ariel & Reichman, Nancy E., 2017. "Effects of maternal work incentives on youth crime," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 128-144.
    8. Melissa Schettini Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2012. "Explaining Recent Trends in the U.S. Teen Birth Rate," NBER Working Papers 17964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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