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The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered

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  • Arline T. Geronimus
  • Sanders Korenman

Abstract

Teen childbearing is commonly viewed as an irrational behavior that leads to long-term socioeconomic disadvantage for mothers and their children. Cross-sectional studies that estimate relationships between maternal age at first birth and socioeconomic indicators measured later in life form the empirical basis for this view. However1 these studies have failed to account adequately for differences in family background among women who time their births at different ages. We present new estimates of the consequences of teen childbearing that take into account observed and unobserved family background heterogeneity, comparing sisters who have timed their first births at different ages. Sister comparisons suggest that previous estimates are biased by failure to control adequately for family background heterogeneity, and, as a result, have overstated the consequences of early fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Arline T. Geronimus & Sanders Korenman, 1991. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered," NBER Working Papers 3701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3701 Note: LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
    2. Mark R. Rosenzweig & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1988. "Heterogeneity, Intrafamily Distribution, and Child Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 437-461.
    3. Gary Chamberlain, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 225-238.
    4. Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi & Hall, Bronwyn H, 1986. "Wages, Schooling and IQ of Brothers and Sisters: Do the Family Factors Differ?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 77-105, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paula England & Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer & Lawrence L. Wu, 2012. "Premarital conceptions, postconception ("shotgun") marriages, and premarital first births," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 27(6), pages 153-166, July.
    2. David Neumark & Sanders Korenman, 1994. "Sources of Bias in Women's Wage Equations: Results Using Sibling Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 379-405.

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