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The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered

  • Arline T. Geronimus
  • Sanders Korenman
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    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.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3701.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3701.

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    Date of creation: May 1991
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published as Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 1992, pp. 1187-1214
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3701
    Note: LS
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. 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.
    2. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
    3. 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.
    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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