Department of Economics

Updating the Teen Miscarriage Experiment: Are the Effects of a Teen Birth Becoming More Negative?

Department of Economics
University of Delaware
Working Paper #2008-08

Updating the Teen Miscarriage Experiment:  
Are the Effects of a Teen Birth Becoming More Negative?


Saul D. Hoffman


A reanalysis of the Hotz, McElroy, and Sanders research on the impact of a teen birth on socio-economic outcomes shows that their data set, which includes information on outcomes at older ages only for teen mothers with the earliest calendar year births, is partly responsible for their unexpected findings.  Even more interestingly, I find that the impacts of  a teen birth differ substantially between the teen mothers who had births in the early to mid 1970s and those who had births in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  The mostly positive effects found by Hotz, McElroy, and Sanders hold only for the first group, while impacts are far more negative for the later ones. This tentatively suggests that teen birth effects, even those found using the teen miscarriage methodology, may be more negative than recently reported and also that the estimates from Hotz, McElroy, and Sanders may not be fully relevant for assessing the impact of a teen birth for today’s young women.  Because these new estimates are based on smaller samples with fewer miscarriages, the findings should be interpreted cautiously.

JEL Codes: J100, J130

Keywords:  Teen, Teen Fertility

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