Adolescent Births and Schooling Outcomes in Mexico: More than Correlation?

Maria C. Calderon, Population Council
Suzanne Duryea, Inter-American Development Bank

This study examines the effect of teen births on schooling outcomes in Mexico, using the Mexican Family Life Survey (MxFLS) collected in 2002 and 2005. A longstanding debate has existed regarding the interpretation of the negative correlation between adolescent childbearing and lower schooling attainment. The debate questions whether teen births contribute to lower educational attainment or are merely another symptom of disadvantaged backgrounds that contribute to lower levels of education. Research in the U.S. exploiting differences across sisters, and thus controlling for family background, has shown that much of the difference disappears with the additional controls. However contrary to evidence found for the U.S. and some other countries, the association between adolescent births and lower schooling attainment in Mexico holds even if comparing across sisters. In conclusion, even after controlling for family background influences there appears to be a long-run effect of teenage fertility on educational attainment in Mexico.

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Presented in Session 64: Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries