Panel Paper: Do Pregnant Teens Respond to Improved Educational Opportunities?

Thursday, November 8, 2012 : 11:15 AM
Mencken (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Melanie Guldi, University of Central Florida

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 made it illegal for an institution receiving federal funding to exclude pregnant/parenting teens from the classroom. This decreased a pregnant teenager’s opportunity cost of education. I examine the impact of this piece of legislation on educational outcomes of pregnant/parenting teens using data from the CPS, Census and Vital Statistics. The methodological design exploits the endowment of pre-1972 rates of teen motherhood across states to identify the causal impact of the policy on teen moms. In this framework, a larger effect of the policy is expected in areas with a larger portion of the population in the treatment group, pregnant/parenting teens. Since most data sets covering the period considered do not indicate whether a teenager is pregnant, the percentage of teens who are mothers is used as a proxy for pregnant/parenting teens. For cohorts impacted by this law change, results suggest that in states with relatively higher pre-policy levels of teen motherhood, Title IX increased high school graduation by age 19.