High School Sports and Teenage Births

Joseph P. Price, Brigham Young University
Daniel Simon, Cornell University
Betsey Stevenson, University of Pennsylvania

Past studies find that high school athletes are much less likely to experience a teenage birth. We find that this correlation depends on the additional controls included in the model. We exploit the rapid expansion of sports participation among girls created by Title IX and find that overall just the opposite is true. We find that a 10 percentage point increase in the fraction of girls playing sports in a state increases the teen birth rate by 0.3 percentage points (about a 10% increase). However, there are racial differences in the effect of sports participation. The increase in the teen birth rate is most pronounced for white young women with some suggestive evidence that sports decrease teen birth rates among black young women.

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Presented in Session 135: Interrelationships between Parents, Schools, Sexual Behavior, and Fertility