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Community-Wide Job Loss and Teenage Fertility

Author

Listed:
  • Elizabeth Ananat
  • Anna Gassman-Pines
  • Christina M. Gibson-Davis

Abstract

We estimate the effects of economic downturns on the birth rates of 15- to 19-year-olds, using county-level business closings and layoffs in North Carolina over 1990-2010 as a plausibly exogenous source of variation in the strength of the local economy. We find little effect of job losses on the white teen birth rate. For black teens, however, job losses to 1% of the working-age population decrease the birth rate by around 2%. Birth declines start five months after the job loss and then last for over a year. Linking the timing of job losses and conceptions suggests that black teen births decline due to increased terminations and perhaps also changes in pre-pregnancy behaviors; national data on risk behaviors also provide evidence that black teens reduce sexual activity and increase contraception use in response to job losses. Job losses seven to nine months after conception do not affect teen birth rates, indicating that teens do not anticipate job losses and lending confidence that job losses are "shocks" that can be viewed as quasi-experimental variation. We also find evidence that relatively advantaged black teens disproportionately abort after job losses, implying that the average child born to a black teen in the wake of job loss is relatively more disadvantaged.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Ananat & Anna Gassman-Pines & Christina M. Gibson-Davis, 2013. "Community-Wide Job Loss and Teenage Fertility," NBER Working Papers 19003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19003
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19003.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Adrián Nieto, 2018. "Permanent employment and fertility: The importance of job security and the career costs of childbearing," Discussion Papers 2018/01, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    2. Daniel Schneider & Orestes Hastings, 2015. "Socioeconomic Variation in the Effect of Economic Conditions on Marriage and Nonmarital Fertility in the United States: Evidence From the Great Recession," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(6), pages 1893-1915, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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