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Arline T. Geronimus photo

The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered

Publication Abstract

Geronimus, Arline T., and Sanders Korenman. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered." PSC Research Report No. 90-190. September 1990.

Teen childbearing is commonly viewed as an irrational behavior that leads to long-term socioeconomic disadvantage for mothers and their children. Cross-sectional studies that estimate relationships between maternal age at first birth and socioeconomic indicators measured later in life form the empirical basis for this view. However, these studies have failed to account adequately for differences in family background among women who time their births at different ages. We present new estimates of the consequences of teen childbearing that take into account observed and unobserved family background heterogeneity, comparing sisters who have timed their first births at different ages. Sibling comparisons suggest that previous estimates have overstated the consequences of early fertility.

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