Outcomes for Children Born to Teen Mothers

Nicola Branson, University of Cape Town
Cally Ardington, University of Cape Town
Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town

Teenage childbearing is generally considered a social problem with costs to the teenage mother, her child and society at large. Literature from the developed world on the outcomes of children born to teen mothers is extensive. Less is known about outcomes for these children in the developing world where nuclear families are not the norm and family support structures tend to be complex. This paper uses a rich panel data set from South Africa to investigate a range of outcomes for young adults born to teen mothers compared to those born to older mothers. The data enable us to control for a detailed set of childhood circumstances and allow the estimation of sibling fixed effects. Our sibling fixed effects model finds limited evidence of a causal relationship between negative young adult outcomes and early childbearing. We investigate whether the presence of grandparents plays an important role in protecting children against negative outcomes.

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Presented in Session 4: Population, Health and Economic Development