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Are there neighbourhood effects on teenage parenthood in the UK, and does it matter for policy? A review of theory and evidence

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  • Dylan Kneale
  • Ruth Lupton

Abstract

This paper is a forerunner to an empirical study of neighbourhood effects on teenage parenthood using the British Cohort Study (BCS70). It reviews evidence for the existence of such effects within the quantitative 'neighbourhood effects' literature. It also draws on the wider literature on teenage parenthood to identify three explanatory frameworks for the phenomenon (opportunity costs, differential values and social networks), and to examine the qualitative and quantitative evidence that these mechanisms vary over space in ways that create distinctive 'place effects' at different spatial scales. We conclude that while there is good reason to believe that neighbourhood and wider area influences might be associated with planned or unplanned teenage pregnancies and with the propensity to continue to parenthood, statistical evidence is mixed, and relatively sparse for the UK. Policy makers need to draw on the wider body of literature, including qualitative studies and practitioner knowledge as well as 'hard' proof of neighbourhood effects. Finally we consider implications for policy. We critically interrogate the notion that area effects and area-based policies are necessarily related and instead offer some more specific conclusions as to what the evidence implies (and does not imply) for the purpose and design of policy interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Dylan Kneale & Ruth Lupton, 2010. "Are there neighbourhood effects on teenage parenthood in the UK, and does it matter for policy? A review of theory and evidence," CASE Papers case141, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:case141
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    File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cp/CASEpaper141.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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).
    2. Kathleen E Kiernan, 2003. "Cohabitation and divorce across nations and generations," CASE Papers case65, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    3. Kendall, Carl & Afable-Munsuz, Aimee & Speizer, Ilene & Avery, Alexis & Schmidt, Norine & Santelli, John, 2005. "Understanding pregnancy in a population of inner-city women in New Orleans--results of qualitative research," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 297-311, January.
    4. McCulloch, Andrew & Joshi, Heather, 2000. "Neighbourhood and family influences on the cognitive ability of children in the British National Child Development Study," ISER Working Paper Series 2000-24, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Propper, Carol & Jones, Kelvyn & Bolster, Anne & Burgess, Simon & Johnston, Ron & Sarker, Rebecca, 2005. "Local neighbourhood and mental health: Evidence from the UK," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(10), pages 2065-2083, November.
    6. Gold, R. & Connell, Frederick A. & Heagerty, Patrick & Bezruchka, Stephen & Davis, Robert & Cawthon, Mary Lawrence, 2004. "Income inequality and pregnancy spacing," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(6), pages 1117-1126, September.
    7. Kaplan, Greg & Goodman, Alissa & Walker, Ian, 2004. "Understanding the Effects of Early Motherhood in Britain: The Effects on Mothers," IZA Discussion Papers 1131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Emilia Del Bono, 2004. "Pre-Marital Fertility and Labour Market Opportunities: Evidence from the 1970 British Cohort Study," Economics Series Working Papers 202, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. Marco Francesconi, 2008. "Adult Outcomes for Children of Teenage Mothers," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(1), pages 93-117, March.
    10. Dylan Kneale & Heather Joshi, 2008. "Postponement and childlessness - Evidence from two British cohorts," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(58), pages 1935-1968, November.
    11. Ermisch, John, 2000. "Employment opportunities and pre-marital births in Britain," ISER Working Paper Series 2000-26, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kamila Cygan-Rehm & Regina T. Riphahn, 2014. "Teenage pregnancies and births in Germany: patterns and developments," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(28), pages 3503-3522, October.
    2. Emily McDool, 2017. "Neighbourhood Effects on Educational Attainment: Does Family Background Influence the Relationship?," Working Papers 2017002, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    neighbourhood; neighbourhood effects; area effects; teenage parenthood;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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