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Understanding the effects of early motherhood in Britain: the effects on mothers

  • Alissa Goodman

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Greg Kaplan

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Ian Walker

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Lancaster University)

This paper examines the socio-economic consequences of teenage motherhood for a cohort of British women born in 1970. We apply a number of different methodologies on the same dataset, including OLS, a propensity score matching estimator, and an instrumental variables estimator, using miscarriages as an instrument. We bound the biases introduced through IV due to non-randomness, and misreporting of the instrument. Our results are sensitive to the methodologies used. Taking only observed characteristics into account, the effects of teenage motherhood appear large and negative. The pathways are through bigger family size, and negative labour market outcomes for the mother and her partner, and are mitigated by transfers from the state through the British benefit system. Our IV estimates show that almost all these effects are reduced to zero once unobserved heterogeneity is taken into account. However our IV bounds show that biases introduced by non-randomness and misreporting of our instrument could be responsible for all of this apparent reduction in effects.

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File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0420.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W04/20.

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Length: 43 pp.
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:04/20
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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. John V. Pepper & Michael J. Brien & Gregory E. Loya, 2002. "Teenage childbearing and cognitive development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 391-416.
  3. Saul Hoffman & E. Foster & Frank Furstenberg, 1993. "Reevaluating the costs of teenage childbearing: Response to Geronimus and Korenman," Demography, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 291-296, May.
  4. Arnaud Chevalier & Tarja K. Viitanen & Tarja K. Viitanen, 2003. "The long-run labour market consequences of teenage motherhood in Britain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 323-343, 05.
  5. 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.
  6. Bronars, Stephen G & Grogger, Jeff, 1994. "The Economic Consequences of Unwed Motherhood: Using Twin Births as a Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1141-56, December.
  7. McClements, L. D., 1977. "Equivalence scales for children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 191-210, October.
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