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Teen Childbearing and Conservative Religious Communities

The importance of neighborhood background characteristics on socioeconomic outcomes is uncertain because some dimensions of neighborhood quality such as social norms and social cohesion are difficult to measure. This paper shows that teen childbearing declines with increases in the fraction of a community’s religious adherents who are Catholics or Conservative Protestants. This finding is not simply due to related differences in local economic costs and benefits or with unobserved family or individual characteristics. Instead the results reflect social norms about teen sexual activity. They indicate that policy choices should take account of the influence of norms on individual behavior.

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File URL: http://ase.tufts.edu/econ/papers/200619.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Tufts University in its series Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University with number 0619.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0619
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Web page: http://ase.tufts.edu/economics

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  1. Ribar, David C, 1994. "Teenage Fertility and High School Completion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 413-24, August.
  2. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L & Katz, Michael L, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317, May.
  3. 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.
  4. R. D. Plotnick & S. D. Hoffman, . "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.
  5. 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.
  6. William Mosher & Linda Williams & David Johnson, 1992. "Religion and fertility in the United States: New patterns," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 199-214, May.
  7. Arland Thornton & Donald Camburn, 1987. "The influence of the family on premarital sexual attitudes and behavior," Demography, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 323-340, August.
  8. Greg Duncan & Saul Hoffman, 1990. "Welfare benefits, economic opportunities, and out-of-wedlock births among black teenage girls," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 519-535, November.
  9. Kane, Thomas J & Staiger, Douglas, 1996. "Teen Motherhood and Abortion Access," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 467-506, May.
  10. 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.
  11. Karin Brewster, 1994. "Neighborhood context and the transition to sexual activity among young black women," Demography, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 603-614, November.
  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 271-91, April.
  13. 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 966-91, October.
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