Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 69–91 | Cite as

Offline effects of online connecting: the impact of broadband diffusion on teen fertility decisions

  • Melanie GuldiEmail author
  • Chris M. HerbstEmail author
Original Paper


Broadband (high-speed) internet access expanded rapidly from 1999 to 2007 and is associated with higher economic growth and labor market activity. In this paper, we examine whether the rollout also affected the social connections that teens make. Specifically, we look at the relationship between increased broadband access and teen fertility. We hypothesize that increasing access to high-speed internet can influence fertility decisions by changing the size of the market as well as increasing the information available to participants in the market. We seek to understand both the overall effect of broadband internet on teen fertility and the mechanisms underlying this effect. Our results suggest that increased broadband access explains at least 7 % of the decline in the teen birth rate between 1999 and 2007. Although we focus on social markets, this work contributes more broadly to an understanding of how new technology interacts with existing markets.


Fertility Birth rates Broadband New media 

JEL codes

J13 J18 



We owe special thanks to the editor and the anonymous referees of this journal for their valuable help and guidance during the review process. We also thank all of the individuals who provided feedback during earlier versions of the paper including Nicholas J. Sanders, Joshua Wilde, Giulia La Mattina, and Sharmila Vishwasrao, as well as the participants of the Florida Atlantic University Economics Department Seminar, the University of South Florida Economics Department Seminar, and the attendees of the 2015 European Association of Labour Economists (EALE) and the Society of Labor Economists (SOLE) Joint Meeting and the 2015 Southern Economic Association Annual Meeting. Any remaining errors are our own.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.School of Public Affairs and IZAArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA

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