Volume 23 - Article 25 | Pages 697–736  

The early socioeconomic effects of teenage childbearing: A propensity score matching approach

By Dohoon Lee


A large body of literature has documented a negative correlation between teenage childbearing and teen mothers’ socioeconomic outcomes, yet researchers continue to disagree as to whether the association represents a true causal effect. This article extends the extant literature by employing propensity score matching with a sensitivity analysis using Rosenbaum bounds. The analysis of recent cohort data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health shows that (1) teenage childbearing has modest but significant negative effects on early socioeconomic outcomes and (2) unobserved covariates would have to be more powerful than known covariates to nullify the propensity score matching estimates. The author concludes by suggesting that more research should be done to address unobserved heterogeneity and the long-term effects of teenage childbearing for this young cohort.

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