Advertisement

Demography

, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 2129–2150 | Cite as

The Educational Consequences of Teen Childbearing

  • Jennifer B. KaneEmail author
  • S. Philip Morgan
  • Kathleen Mullan Harris
  • David K. Guilkey
Article

Abstract

A huge literature shows that teen mothers face a variety of detriments across the life course, including truncated educational attainment. To what extent is this association causal? The estimated effects of teen motherhood on schooling vary widely, ranging from no discernible difference to 2.6 fewer years among teen mothers. The magnitude of educational consequences is therefore uncertain, despite voluminous policy and prevention efforts that rest on the assumption of a negative and presumably causal effect. This study adjudicates between two potential sources of inconsistency in the literature—methodological differences or cohort differences—by using a single, high-quality data source: namely, The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. We replicate analyses across four different statistical strategies: ordinary least squares regression; propensity score matching; and parametric and semiparametric maximum likelihood estimation. Results demonstrate educational consequences of teen childbearing, with estimated effects between 0.7 and 1.9 fewer years of schooling among teen mothers. We select our preferred estimate (0.7), derived from semiparametric maximum likelihood estimation, on the basis of weighing the strengths and limitations of each approach. Based on the range of estimated effects observed in our study, we speculate that variable statistical methods are the likely source of inconsistency in the past. We conclude by discussing implications for future research and policy, and recommend that future studies employ a similar multimethod approach to evaluate findings.

Keywords

Teen childbearing Educational attainment Semiparametric maximum likelihood Propensity score matching Add Health 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Kane is the corresponding author; she carried out most of the statistical analysis and wrote the first draft of this article. She was also responsible for coordinating input from coauthors on subsequent drafts. This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website (http://www.cpc.unc.edu/addhealth). This research received support from the Population Research Training grant (T32 HD007168) and the Population Research Infrastructure Program (R24 HD050924) awarded to the Carolina Population Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Opinions reflect those of the authors and not necessarily those of the granting agencies. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2012 meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver, CO. The authors wish to thank Jason Fletcher, Ron Rindfuss, Duncan Thomas, and participants of the 2012 Duke-UNC Demography Daze Symposium for providing helpful comments.

Supplementary material

13524_2013_238_MOESM1_ESM.docx (85 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 85 kb)

References

  1. Allison, P. D. (2009). Fixed effects regression models. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  2. An, C.-B., Haveman, R., & Wolfe, B. (1993). Teen out-of-wedlock births and welfare receipt: The role of childhood events and economic circumstances. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 75, 195–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Angeles, G., Guilkey, D. K., & Mroz, T. A. (1998). Purposive program placement and the estimation of family planning program effects in Tanzania. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 93, 884–899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Angrist, J. D., & Evans, W. N. (1996). Schooling and labor market consequences of the 1970 state abortion reforms (NBER Working Paper No. 5406). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  5. Ashcraft, A., Fernández-Val, I., & Lang, K. (2013). The consequences of teenage childbearing: Consistent estimates when abortion makes miscarriage nonrandom. The Economic Journal. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/ecoj.12005
  6. Ashcraft, A., & Lang, K. (2006). The consequences of teenage childbearing (NBER Working Paper No. 12485). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  7. Basu, A., Heckman, J. J., Navarro-Lozano, S., & Urzua, S. (2007). Use of instrumental variables in the presence of heterogeneity and self-selection: An application to treatments of breast cancer patients. Health Economics, 16, 1133–1157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brien, M. J., Lillard, L. A., & Waite, L. J. (1999). Interrelated family-building behaviors: Cohabitation, marriage, and nonmarital conception. Demography, 36, 535–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burton, L. M. (1990). Teenage childbearing as an alternative life-course strategy in multigeneration black families. Human Nature, 1, 123–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Card, J. J., & Wise, L. L. (1978). Teenage mothers and teenage fathers: The impact of early childbearing on the parents’ personal and professional lives. Family Planning Perspectives, 10, 199–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DiPrete, T. A., & Gangl, M. (2004). Assessing bias in the estimation of causal effects: Rosenbaum bounds on matching estimators and instrumental variables estimation with imperfect instruments. Sociological Methodology, 34, 271–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Edin, K., & Kefalas, M. (2005). Promises I can keep: Why poor women put motherhood before marriage. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  13. Fletcher, J. M., & Wolfe, B. L. (2009). Education and labor market consequences of teenage childbearing. Journal of Human Resources, 44, 303–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Furstenberg, F. F. (1976). The social consequences of teenage parenthood. Family Planning Perspectives, 8, 148–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Furstenberg, F. F., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Morgan, S. P. (1989). Adolescent mothers in later life. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Furstenberg, F. F., Jr. (2003). Teenage childbearing as a public issue and private concern. Annual Review of Sociology, 29, 23–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Geronimus, A. T., & Korenman, S. (1992). The socioeconomic consequences of teen childbearing reconsidered. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 107, 1187–1214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grogger, J., & Bronars, S. (1993). The socioeconomic consequences of teenage childbearing: Findings from a natural experiment. Family Planning Perspectives, 25, 156–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guilkey, D. K., & Lance, P. M. (2012). Estimation of non-random program impact when both the program variable and outcome variable are binary indicators: Monte Carol results for alternative estimators and empirical examples. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Google Scholar
  20. Guzzo, K. B., & Hayford, S. (2011). Fertility following an unintended first birth. Demography, 48, 1493–1516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harris, K. M. (2010). An integrative approach to health. Demography, 47, 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harris, K. M., Halpern, C. T., Whitsel, E., Hussey, J., Tabor, J., Entzel, P., & Udry, J. R. (2009). The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health: Research design. Chapel Hill: Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved from http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth/design
  23. Heckman, J. (1997). Instrumental variables: A study of implicit behavioral assumptions used in making program evaluations. Journal of Human Resources, 32, 441–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Heckman, J. J., Ichimura, H., Smith, J., & Todd, P. (1996). Sources of selection bias in evaluating social programs: An interpretation of conventional measures and evidence on the effectiveness of matching as a program evaluation method. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 93, 13416–13420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Heckman, J. J., & Singer, B. (1984). A method for minimizing the impact of distributional assumptions in econometric models for duration data. Econometrica, 52, 271–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Heckman, J. J., Urzua, S., & Vytlacil, E. J. (2006). Understanding instrumental variables in models with essential heterogeneity. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 88, 389–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hofferth, S. L., & Moore, K. A. (1979). Early childbearing and later economic well-being. American Sociological Review, 44, 784–815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hoffman, S. D. (2008). Updated estimates of the consequences of teen childbearing for mothers. In S. D. Hoffman & R. A. Maynard (Eds.), Kids having kids: Economic costs & social consequences of teen pregnancy (pp. 74–92). Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
  29. Hoffman, S. D., Foster, E. M., & Furstenberg, F. F., Jr. (1993). Reevaluating the costs of teenage childbearing. Demography, 30, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hoffman, S. D., & Maynard, R. A. (2008). The study, the context, and the findings in brief. In S. D. Hoffman & R. A. Maynard (Eds.), Kids having kids: Economic costs and social consequences teen pregnancy (pp. 1–24). Washington DC: Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
  31. Holmlund, H. (2005). Estimating long-term consequences of teenage childbearing. Journal of Human Resources, XL, 716–743.Google Scholar
  32. Hotz, J., McElroy, S. W., & Sanders, S. G. (2005). Teenage childbearing and its life cycle consequences: Exploiting a natural experiment. Journal of Human Resources, 40, 683–715.Google Scholar
  33. Hotz, V. J., McElroy, S. W., & Sanders, S. G. (2008). Consequences of teen childbearing for mothers through 1993. In S. D. Hoffman & R. A. Maynard (Eds.), Kids having kids: Economic costs and social consequences of teen pregnancy (pp. 51–73). Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
  34. Jones, A. S., Astone, N. M., Keyl, P. M., Kim, Y. J., & Alexander, C. S. (1999). Teen childbearing and educational attainment: A comparison of methods. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 20, 387–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Klepinger, D. H., Lundberg, S., & Plotnick, R. D. (1995). Adolescent fertility and the educational attainment of young women. Family Planning Perspectives, 27, 23–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Klepinger, D., Lundberg, S., & Plotnick, R. (1999). How does adolescent fertility affect the human capital and wages of young women? Journal of Human Resources, 34, 421–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lee, D. (2010). The early socioeconomic effects of teenage childbearing: A propensity score matching approach. Demographic Research, 23(article 25), 697–736. doi: 10.4054/DemRes.2010.23.25
  38. Levine, D. I., & Painter, G. (2003). The schooling costs of teenage out-of-wedlock childbearing: Analysis with a within-school propensity-score-matching estimator. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 85, 884–900.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Marini, M. M. (1984). Age and sequencing norms in the transition to adulthood. Social Forces, 63, 229–244.Google Scholar
  40. McElroy, S. W. (1996). Early childbearing, high school completion, and college enrollment: Evidence from 1980 high school sophomores. Economics of Education Review, 15, 303–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McLanahan, S. (2009). Fragile families and the reproduction of poverty. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 621, 111–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mollborn, S. (2007). Making the best of a bad situation: Material resources and teenage parenthood. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 69, 92–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Moore, K. A., & Hofferth, S. L. (1980). Factors affecting early family formation: A path model. Population and Environment, 3, 73–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Moore, K. A., & Waite, L. J. (1977). Early childbearing and educational attainment. Family Planning Perspectives, 9, 220–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mott, F. L., & Marsiglio, W. (1985). Early childbearing and completion of high school. Family Planning Perspectives, 17, 234–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mroz, T. A. (1999). Discrete factor approximations in simultaneous equation models: Estimating the impact of a dummy endogenous variable on a continuous outcome. Journal of Econometrics, 92, 233–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Musick, J. S. (1995). Young, poor, and pregnant: The psychology of teenage motherhood. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Olsen, R. J., & Farkas, G. (1989). Endogenous covariates in duration models and the effect of adolescent childbirth on schooling. Journal of Human Resources, 24, 39–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Raymo, J. M., Carlson, M. J., Perelli-Harris, B., Lim, S.-J., & Iwasawa, M. (2011, April). Educational differences in early childbearing: A cross-national comparative study. Paper presented at the spring meeting of the ISA RC28, University of Essex, UK. Retrieved from http://www.iser.essex.ac.uk
  50. Ribar, D. C. (1994). Teenage fertility and high school completion. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 76, 413–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rich, L. M., & Kim, S.-B. (1999). Patterns of later life education among teenage mothers. Gender and Society, 13, 798–817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rindfuss, R. R., Bumpass, L., & St. John, C. (1980). Education and fertility: Implications for the roles women occupy. American Sociological Review, 45, 431–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rindfuss, R. R., Guilkey, D. K., Morgan, S. P., & Kravdal, Ã. Y. (2010). Child-care availability and fertility in Norway. Population and Development Review, 36, 725–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rindfuss, R. R., Guilkey, D., Morgan, S. P., Kravdal, Ã. Y., & Guzzo, K. B. (2007). Child care availability and first-birth timing in Norway. Demography, 44, 345–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rosenbaum, P. R. (2002). Observational studies. New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rosenbaum, P. R., & Rubin, D. B. (1983). The central role of the propensity score in observational studies for causal effects. Biometrika, 70, 41–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rosenbaum, P. R., & Rubin, D. B. (1985). Constructing a control group using multivariate matched sampling methods that incorporate the propensity score. The American Statistician, 39, 33–38.Google Scholar
  58. Rosenzweig, M. R., & Schultz, T. P. (1991). Who receives medical care? Income, implicit prices, and the distribution of medical services among pregnant women in the United States. Journal of Human Resources, 26, 473–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sanders, S., Smith, J., & Zhang, Y. (2007). Teenage childbearing and maternal schooling outcomes: Evidence from matching. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Economics, University of Maryland, College Park.Google Scholar
  60. Upchurch, D. M., Lillard, L. A., Aneshensel, C. S., & Li, N. F. (2002). Inconsistencies in reporting the occurrence and timing of first intercourse among adolescents. Journal of Sex Research, 39, 197–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Upchurch, D. M., Lillard, L. A., & Panis, C. W. A. (2002). Nonmarital childbearing: Influences of education, marriage, and fertility. Demography, 39, 311–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Upchurch, D. M., & McCarthy, J. (1990). The timing of a first birth and high school completion. American Sociological Review, 55, 224–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Waite, L. J., & Moore, K. A. (1978). The impact of an early first birth on young women’s educational attainment. Social Forces, 56, 845–865.Google Scholar
  64. Wehby, G. L., Murray, J. C., Castilla, E. E., Lopez-Camelo, J. S., & Ohsfeldt, R. L. (2009). Prenatal care demand and its effects on birth outcomes by birth defect status in Argentina. Economics and Human Biology, 7, 84–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wehby, G. L., Prater, K., McCarthy, A. M., Castilla, E. E., & Murray, J. C. (2012). The impact of maternal smoking during pregnancy on early child neurodevelopment. Journal of Human Capital, 5, 207–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wellings, K. (2007). Causes and consequences of teenage pregnancy. In P. Baker, K. Guthrie, C. Hutchinson, R. Kane, & K. Wellings (Eds.), Teenage pregnancy and reproductive health (pp. 69–80). London, UK: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer B. Kane
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Philip Morgan
    • 2
  • Kathleen Mullan Harris
    • 2
  • David K. Guilkey
    • 3
  1. 1.Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of Economics and Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

Personalised recommendations