The Effects of Adolescent Fertility on Adult Educational Attainment

Athena A. Tapales, Johns Hopkins University

Determining the consequences of teenage childbearing continues to be debated because of the methodological challenges posed by the causal relationship between adolescent fertility and future outcomes. I propose to use data from the National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988 (NELS: 88) to address this research question. The educational attainment of the female sample when they are about 25 years old is the outcome. Since the data were initially collected when they were young adolescents, family background and individual characteristics were available prior to childbearing. To address the non-exogenous nature of adolescent fertility, instrumental variables are used such as state welfare policy innovations during the early 1990s waiver period. State-level policies on abortion and expenditures on contraceptive services are also used as instruments. The final set of instruments includes individual-level information from the school principal in NELS: 88 about requiring sex education instruction for graduation from eighth grade and high school.

Presented in Session 149: Nonmarital Fertility