Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Fast times at Ridgemont High? The effect of compulsory schooling laws on teenage births
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2004
URL https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/20714/1/dp1416.pdf
Abstract
Research suggests that teenage childbearing adversely affects both the outcomes of the
mothers as well as those of their children. We know that low-educated women are more likely
to have a teenage birth, but does this imply that policies that increase educational attainment
reduce early fertility? This paper investigates whether increasing mandatory educational
attainment through compulsory schooling legislation encourages women to delay
childbearing. We use variation induced by changes in compulsory schooling laws in both the
United States and Norway to estimate the effect in two very different institutional
environments. We find evidence that increased compulsory schooling does in fact reduce the
incidence of teenage childbearing in both the United States and Norway, and these results
are quite robust to various specification checks. Somewhat surprisingly, we also find that the
magnitude of these effects is quite similar in the two countries. These results suggest that
legislation aimed at improving educational outcomes may have spillover effects onto the
fertility decisions of teenagers.

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