Skills, Schooling and Non-Marital Teenage Pregnancy in Ghana

Niels-Hugo Blunch, Washington and Lee University

This paper examines non-marital teen pregnancy in Ghana, focusing on the role and interplay of Ghanaian and English reading skills, educational attainment, and adult literacy course participation. Pursuing first an instrumental variables strategy, using year of birth-region of birth interactions as identifying instruments, indicates that skills and schooling may be treated as predetermined to whether an unmarried teenage girl has experienced a pregnancy. Continuing, therefore, with linear probability models yields three main results. First, I confirm the finding from previous studies that educational attainment is negatively associated with either non-marital or teenage pregnancy. Second, however, once Ghanaian and English reading skills are introduced, the association between educational attainment and non-marital teen pregnancy decreases or disappears altogether. Third, for the teenage girls who have not completed primary school, adult literacy course participation is associated with a much lower probability of experiencing a teenage pregnancy. Directions for future research are also presented.

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Presented in Session 58: Sexual Behaviors, Reproductive Health and Fertility among Adolescents and Young Adults