Schooling, Achievement, and Aspirations: Teen Pregnancy in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam

Whitney Schott , University of Pennsylvania
Elisabetta Aurino, Imperial College London
Mary Penny, Instituto de Investigacion Nutricional
Jere Behrman, University of Pennsylvania

Adolescence is a critical developmental period and motherhood during adolescence is often associated with negative health and socioeconomic outcomes for mothers and their children. This study uses longitudinal data from Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam to examine grades of schooling, educational aspirations of the adolescent and her parents, and time use as protective factors for teen childbearing. This paper suggests that (1) cognitive scores and grades completed, (2) educational aspirations and parental aspirations, and (3) time spent on schooling predict adolescent motherhood in separate models. To address endogeneity, we estimate the relationship with instruments, finding that OLS underestimates the true relationship between educational measures at age 15 and motherhood at age 19. Results suggest interventions in early adolescence to increase adolescent and parental aspirations and programs encouraging school attendance may be beneficial in reducing the rate of teen motherhood.

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 Presented in Session 2. Children & Youth