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Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Early Childbearing

  • Melissa S. Kearney
  • Phillip B. Levine

We examine the empirical relationship between socioeconomic disadvantage and rates of early childbearing. First, we use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to confirm a strong correlation at the individual level - women who grow up "disadvantaged" are much more likely to give birth as teens. Then we aggregate Vital Statistics microdata from 1968 through 2003 to conduct a cohort-based analysis of the relationship between rates of socioeconomic disadvantage of a birth cohort and the cohort's subsequent early childbearing experiences. Our cohort level analysis implies an even tighter intergenerational correlation between rates of background disadvantage and early childbearing. But, when our analysis econometrically controls for fixed state and year of birth effects in the model to account for cultural and other differences across cohorts, the relationship between rates of disadvantage and early childbearing is found to be quite modest. For example, the elasticity of early childbearing rates by age 18 with respect to the probability of being born to a mother under age 18 is only 0.05. This suggests that broader, societal forces are far more important in determining rates of early childbearing than rates of socioeconomic disadvantage per se.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13436.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13436.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Publication status: published as Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Early Childbearing , Melissa S. Kearney, Phillip B. Levine. in The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective , Gruber. 2009
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13436
Note: CH HE LS
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  1. 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.
  2. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip B. Levine, 2004. "Abortion Legalization and Lifecycle Fertility," NBER Working Papers 10705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risky Behavior among Youths: Some Issues from Behavioral Economics," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 29-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Robert Moffitt, 2001. "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program," Economics Working Paper Archive 463, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  5. Shelly Lundberg & Daniel Klepinger & Robert Plotnick, 1998. "Teen Childbearing and Human Capital: Does Timing Matter?," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0057, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  6. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  8. Phillip B. Levine, 2001. "The Sexual Activity and Birth-Control Use of American Teenagers," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 167-218 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hunt, Jennifer, 2003. "Teen Births Keep American Crime High," IZA Discussion Papers 757, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. 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.
  11. Justin McCrary & Heather Royer, 2011. "The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 158-95, February.
  12. Levine, Phillip B., 2003. "Parental involvement laws and fertility behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 861-878, September.
  13. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereaux & Kjell Salvanes, 2004. "Fast Times at Ridgemont High? The Effect of Compulsory Schooling Laws on Teenage Births," NBER Working Papers 10911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. V. Joseph Hotz & Susan Williams McElroy & Seth G. Sanders, 1999. "Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences: Exploiting a Natural Experiment," JCPR Working Papers 157, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  15. Melissa S. Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2007. "Subsidized Contraception, Fertility, and Sexual Behavior," NBER Working Papers 13045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
  17. Janet Currie & Enrico Moreti, 2005. "Biology As Destiny? Short And Long-Run Determinants Of Intergenerational Transmission Of Birth Weight," Working Papers id:194, eSocialSciences.
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  24. Rajeev Dehejia & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2004. "Booms, Busts, and Babies’ Health," Working Papers 250, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  25. Geronimus, Arline T & Korenman, Sanders, 1992. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1187-214, November.
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  27. Joshua D. Angrist & William N. Evans, 1996. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of the 1970 State Abortion Reforms," NBER Working Papers 5406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. George B. Roberts, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1960. "Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ60-2, August.
  29. David I. Levine & Gary Painter, 2003. "The Schooling Costs of Teenage Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing: Analysis with a Within-School Propensity-Score-Matching Estimator," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 884-900, November.
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