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Teen Childbearing and Community Religiosity

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  • Linda Datcher Loury

Abstract

This paper shows that communities with larger fractions of Catholics and Conservative Protestants have lower rates of teen childbearing ceteris paribus. The pattern of results does not appear to result from spurious correlation with unobservables but rather can be explained by a modified version of Akerlof’s conformity model. This research suggests that community variables that may affect individuals extend beyond the standard measures of neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics. It provides indirect evidence in favor of policy interventions that explicitly seek to alter attitudes and norms rather than relying solely on providing information or structuring financial incentives to change behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Linda Datcher Loury, 2004. "Teen Childbearing and Community Religiosity," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0405, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  • Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0405
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    1. Arland Thornton & Donald Camburn, 1987. "The influence of the family on premarital sexual attitudes and behavior," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(3), pages 323-340, August.
    2. 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.
    3. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    4. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    5. R. D. Plotnick, "undated". "The effect of attitudes on teenage premarital pregnancy and its resolution," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 965-92, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    6. William Mosher & Linda Williams & David Johnson, 1992. "Religion and fertility in the United States: New patterns," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(2), pages 199-214, May.
    7. Ribar, David C, 1994. "Teenage Fertility and High School Completion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 413-424, August.
    8. Karin Brewster, 1994. "Neighborhood context and the transition to sexual activity among young black women," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(4), pages 603-614, November.
    9. Greg Duncan & Saul Hoffman, 1990. "Welfare benefits, economic opportunities, and out-of-wedlock births among black teenage girls," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 27(4), pages 519-535, November.
    10. R. D. Plotnick & S. D. Hoffman, "undated". "The Effect of Neighborhood Characteristics on Young Adult Outcomes: Alternative Estimates," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1106-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    11. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen & Michael L. Katz, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317.
    12. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-291, April.
    13. 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.
    14. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas Staiger, 1996. "Teen Motherhood and Abortion Access," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 467-506.
    15. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-991, October.
    16. Donna Ginther & Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 2000. "Neighborhood Attributes as Determinants of Children's Outcomes: How Robust Are the Relationships?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 603-642.
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