The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered

37 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2000 Last revised: 12 Feb 2021

See all articles by Sanders Korenman

Sanders Korenman

City University of New York (CUNY) - School of Public Affairs; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Arline T. Geronimus

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Public Health

Date Written: May 1991

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

Korenman, Sanders and Geronimus, Arline T., The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered (May 1991). NBER Working Paper No. w3701, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=227993

Sanders Korenman (Contact Author)

City University of New York (CUNY) - School of Public Affairs ( email )

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Arline T. Geronimus

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Public Health ( email )

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