NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Fast Times at Ridgemont High? The Effect of Compulsory Schooling Laws on Teenage Births

Sandra E. Black, Paul J. Devereaux, Kjell Salvanes

NBER Working Paper No. 10911
Issued in November 2004
NBER Program(s):   CH   ED   LS

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.

download in pdf format
   (315 K)

email paper

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the June 2005 NBER digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

This paper is available as PDF (315 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10911

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Maggi and Staiger w14067 On the Role and Design of Dispute Settlement Procedures in International Trade Agreements
Acemoglu and Angrist How Large are Human-Capital Externalities? Evidence from Compulsory-Schooling Laws
Tekin and Markowitz w11238 Suicidal Behavior and the Labor Market Productivity of Young Adults
Nunn w13367 The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades
Angrist, Bettinger, and Kremer w10713 Long-Term Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us