Early Parenthood and Educational Trajectories: A Comparison of Men and Women

Frank Heiland, Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY)
Heinrich Hock, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
William Thrasher, Florida State University

While the negative consequences of teenage motherhood are well-documented, only a handful of studies have investigated the costs of early fatherhood. Using data from the NLSY79, we provide new estimates of the relationship between early parenthood and educational outcomes, considering high school and college completion, in addition to a continuous measure of completed schooling. Our study is the first to present estimates for both men and women obtained from a comparable statistical model, enabling us to investigate potential gender differences in the average education penalty associated with early parenthood. Our results suggest that, controlling for individuals’ scholastic endowments and detailed family background characteristics, men face lower consequences of early fertility across the adolescent educational spectrum. Gender differences are also most pronounced during the early teenage years. Ongoing work that explicitly accounts for additional unobserved individual characteristics will examine the heterogeneous educational effects of early-lifecycle fertility in greater detail.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 2