The Consequences of Teenage Childbearing before Roe v. Wade

Kevin Lang, Russell Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using five cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth, we estimate the effect of teen motherhood on education, labor market, and marriage outcomes for teens conceiving from 1940 through 1968. Effects vary by marital status at conception, socioeconomic background, and year. Effects on teens married at conception were limited. However, teen mothers conceiving premaritally obtained less education and had a weaker marriage market. Teen mothers of the 1940s-1950s, affected by subsequent economic and social changes, were disadvantaged in the labor market of the 1970s. In the 1960s, teens for whom motherhood would be costly increasingly avoided pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-197
Number of pages29
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance


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