Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 891–920 | Cite as

The effects of teenage childbearing on long-term health in the US: a twin-fixed-effects approach



This paper explores the effect of teenage childbearing on long-term health outcomes and behaviors of mothers using the Midlife Development in the US dataset. Within-family estimations, using samples of siblings, and twin pairs, are employed to overcome the bias generated by unobserved family background and genetic traits. The results suggest no significant effects on health outcomes, and modest effects on health behaviors, including exercise and preventive care. However, accounting for life-cycle effects demonstrates that teenage childbearing has significant effects on both health outcomes and behaviors early in life, but very few significant effects later in life. Moreover, teenage childbearing has a particularly acute effect among minorities. Finally, this paper provides evidence that the effects operate through reduced income and labor force participation, and matching with a lower “quality” spouse.


Teenage childbearing Health Health behaviors  Siblings Twins 

JEL Classification

I12 J13 



The author would like to thank Melissa S. Kearney, Laura M. Argys, Jere Behrman, Kenneth L. Leonard, Vikesh Amin, Dana C. Andersen, and participants at the 2014 PAA conference for many valuable comments. This paper has been significantly improved from the insightful comments of two anonymous referees.

Supplementary material

11150_2016_9326_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (54 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 53 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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