Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You Do The Math

Please bookmark this paper:

I am not going to comment on this. I simply want to going to bring this paper to your attention. Everything you read is a direct quote from the paper.

Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences:Exploiting a Natural Experiment*


"We exploit a “natural experiment” associated with human reproduction to identify the causal effect of teen childbearing on the socioeconomic attainment of teen mothers. We exploit the fact that some women who become pregnant experience a miscarriage and do not have a live birth. Using miscarriages an instrumental variable, we estimate the effect of teen mothers not delaying their childbearing on their subsequent attainment. We find that many of the negative consequences of teenage childbearing are much smaller than those found in previous studies. For most outcomes, the adverse consequences of early childbearing are short-lived. Finally, for annual hours of work and earnings, we find that a teen mother would have lower levels of each at older ages if they had delayed their childbearing."

V. Joseph Hotz
Department of Economics
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Susan Williams McElroy
School of Social Sciences
University of Texas at Dallas
Richardson, TX 75083

Seth G. Sanders
Department of Economics
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

"Our major finding is that many of the apparent negative consequences of teenage child bearing on the subsequent socioeconomic attainment of teen mothers are much smaller than those found in studies that use alternative methodologies to identify the causal effects of teenage childbearing. We also find evidence that teenage mothers earn more in the labor market at older ages than they would have earned if they had delayed their births. Comparing our IV estimates with estimates based on ordinary least squares (OLS) regression methods that control for observable characteristics, we find that the apparent negative consequences previously attributed to teenage childbearing appear to be the result of the failure to account for other, unobservable factors. "(pg.5)

V. Conclusion "In this study, we have used an alternative and innovative strategy to estimate the causal effects associated with teenage childbearing in the U.S. In particular, we have focused on women who first become pregnant as teenagers and employ a natural experiment to obtain a more comparable,and plausible, comparison group with which to derive estimates of counterfactual outcomes for teen mothers. Our results suggest that much of the “concern” that has been registered regarding teenage childbearing is misplaced, at least based on its consequences for the subsequent educational and economic attainment of teen mothers. In particular, our estimates imply that the “poor” outcomes attained by such women cannot be attributed, in a causal sense, primarily to their decision to begin their childbearing at an early age. Rather, it appears that these outcomes are more the result of social and economic circumstances than they are the result of the early childbearing of these women.Furthermore, our estimates suggest that simply delaying their childbearing would not greatly enhance their educational attainment or subsequent earnings or affect their family structure. " (pg.28)

"Taken together, the results presented in this article call into question the view that teenage childbearing is one of the nation’s most serious social problems, at least when one measures its severity in terms of the potential financial gains to these women and to taxpayers of having allteen mothers delay their childbearing until they are older. At the same time, we caution the reader not to generalize from these findings. We have considered only selected potential consequences of teenage childbearing. Furthermore, the findings from one study cannot be considered as conclusive. However, for many of the socioeconomic outcomes considered in this article, our findings are consistent with the estimated effects of teenage childbearing found in the work of Geronimus and Korenman (1992) and Grogger and Bronars (1993). Our work, along with these earlier studies, raises serious doubts about the extent and nature of teenage childbearing as a “social problem” in the U.S. More importantly, our research casts doubt on the view that postponing childbearing will improve the socioeconomic attainment of teen mothers in any substantial way. " (pg. 29)

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