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Teenage mothers and education policy by Sandra Black, Department of Economics, UCLA NBER and IZA-Bonn Paul J. Devereux, Department of Economics, UCD IZA-Bonn.

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Presentation on theme: "Teenage mothers and education policy by Sandra Black, Department of Economics, UCLA NBER and IZA-Bonn Paul J. Devereux, Department of Economics, UCD IZA-Bonn."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teenage mothers and education policy by Sandra Black, Department of Economics, UCLA NBER and IZA-Bonn Paul J. Devereux, Department of Economics, UCD IZA-Bonn Kjell G. Salvanes, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics Center for Education Research-CEP and IZA-Bonn

2 Research questions and motivation Teenage mothers are associated with negative outcomes such as low educational, earnings, welfare dependence etc What determines teenage motherhood is not well understood –For instnance we know that low-educated women are associated with the likelyhood of a teenage birht –But will increased education – in our case compulsory schooling encourage delayed childbearing? Why do we care? –Will government policy have an effect on teenage childbearing

3 Research questions and motivation Our approach –Measure the causal effect of changes in compulsory schooling laws on teenage childbearing for Norway and the US Institutional differences –Understand mechanisms through which this relationship works

4 Outline Introduction Institutional differences Relevant Literature Norwegian and US School Reforms Identification Strategy* Data* Results Specification/Robustness Checks Mechanisms/interpretations Conclusion

5 Institutional differences Similarities and differences between the US and Norway –Very high GDP per capita –High education level –The US system is relatively unsupportive for teenage mothers –The system in Norway very generous –Single parents get support to take care of the child until the age of 10 –The government enforce payment from fathers –The government pay all education expences for the mother –The government provides subsidized housing –Sinlge mothers get double child allowance

6 Previous literature Negative adult outcomes of teenage mothers –Lower education, less work experience, welfare dependence, lower birth weights, higher rates of infant mortality, and higher rates of participation in crime (Ellwood, 1988; Jencks, 1989; Hoffman et al., 1993; Kiernan, 1997). Negative outcomes of children (Francesconi, 2004, Hunt, 2003) The effect of education policy in reducing teen fertility (McCrary and Royer, 2003). –All births in California and Texas from 1989-2001 –A selected sample for those who had children

7 The Norwegian School Reform Mandatory School Reform passed by Parliament in 1959 3 Goals: –To increase the minimum level of education in society by extending compulsory schooling from 7 years to 9 years. –To smooth the transition to higher education (standardized curriculum) –To enhance equality of opportunities both along socio-economic dimensions and geographical dimensions All municipalities must implement reform by 1973 Cohorts affected: 1947 - 1959

8 Table 2: Impact of the reform: Distribution of Education Two Years Before and After the Reform

9 The Norwegian School Reform What caused different municipalities to adopt the reform? –Government wanted adoption to be representative of the national geography. –Some evidence (Lie 1973, 1974) that proximity to adopting municipality can somewhat explain adoption pattern. –Little evidence suggesting municipality characteristics determined timing.

10 Figure 1 The Number of Municipalities Implementing the Education Reform, by Year

11 Figure 2 Reform implementation in Poor vs Rich Municipalities Based on Average Family Income.

12 Figure 3 Reform Implementation in High vs. Low Education Municipalities Based on Average Years Fathers of Education in the Municipality

13 Changes in US compulsory school laws The period 1924-1974 Five possible restrictions on educational attendance: –1. maximum age by which a child must be enrolled –2. minimum age at which a child may drop out –3. minimum years of schooling before dropping out –4. minimum age for a work permit –5. minimum schooling required for a work permit.

14 Following Acemoglu and Angris (2001) we assign compulsory school attendance laws to women on the basis of state of birth and the year the individual was 14 years We do several check testing the relationship between compulsory schooling laws and early fertility

15 Identification Strategy and Specification The US model: –Where Cohort is full set of year of birth indicators State is a full set of state indicators White is a indicator for wheter the woman is white compulsory is a vector of dummies with a min dropout age for less than 16 as the omitted category Norway model: –Where: compulsory is 1 if the individual was affected by the education reform (minimum dropout age of 16) and 0 otherwise (min dropout age of 14).

16 Norway Data Merged Administrative Registers and Census Data from Statistics Norway –Covers entire population of Norwegians aged 16-74 –Municipality of individual's mother in 1960 Education Information –Educational attainment reported by Educational Establishment –Augmented with information from 1970 Census Timing of Reform by Municipality –Have Indicators for 545 out of 728 municipalities. Women born between 1947 and 1958 Omit mothers with births before 15

17 US data IPUMS extracts from the decennial Census 1940-1980 1% of 1940-1960, 2% of 1970 state samples,5% of 1980 state samples Only possible to identify children living in the household Restrict our Census samples to women aged between 20 and 30 and then calculate age at first birth

18 Table 1: Descriptive Statistics United States

19 Table 1: Descriptive Statistics NORWAY

20 Table 2: Effect of Compulsory Schooling Laws on the Probability of First Birth by A Certain Age

21 Table 3: Effect of Compulsory Schooling Laws on the Probability of Birth: Urban/Rural Distinction

22 Robustness checks Include state/municipality specific trends Since samples for the US varies across cohorts, we weight the cohorts equally Testing effects of future school laws Alternative measures for the US on compulsory schooling laws

23 Different mechanisms The incarceration effect –A new compulsory schooling law may change the optimal fertility age; schooling is more costly if you are a young mother Human capital effect –Increased school changes your preferences regarding fertility age If the incarceration effect is the only effect of compulsory schooling laws, there should be no effect on behavior at ages above which the schooling laws bind.

24 Table 9: Effect of Compulsory Schooling Laws on the Probability of Birth Conditional on Not Already Having a Child


26 Concluding remarks We find that minimum schooling laws have a significant negative effect on the probability of having a child as a teenager both in the US and in Norway The results are quite strong and very similar –In the US the compulsory schooling laws reduced the probability of a birth at 18 and 19 by 4.7 percent –In Norway the effect is 3.5 percent Our results suggest that the mechanisms both include an incarceration effect and human capital effect

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