Working Paper 11/262 - abstract

' Is teenage motherhood contagious? Evidence from a Natural Experiment' (PDF, 326kB)

Karin Monstad, Carol Propper and Kjell G. Salvanes

There is relatively little research on peer effects in teenage motherhood despite the fact that peer effects, and in particular social interaction within the family, are likely to be important. We estimate the impact of an elder sister’s teenage fertility on the teenage childbearing of their younger sister. To identify the peer effect we utilize an educational reform that impacted on the elder sister’s teenage fertility. Our main result is that within families, teen births tend to be contagious and the effect is larger where siblings are close in age and for women from low resource households.