Working Paper

Compulsory Education and Teenage Motherhood



Wilson T (2017) Compulsory Education and Teenage Motherhood. Stirling Economics Discussion Paper, 2017-01.

Can education policy reduce the incidence of teenage motherhood? This paper uses data from the largest UK household-level survey to investigate the impact of a change in legislation, which increased the duration of compulsory schooling, on the timing of fertility using a regression discontinuity design. The findings indicate strong evidence that the schooling reform induced a downwards impact on fertility not only at the new school-leaving age, but also exerted a non-monotonic effect throughout the teenage years. Overall the analysis suggests that the increase in mandatory education caused a postponement of fertility with the influence of the reform dissipating after age 20.

Compulsory Schooling; Fertility; Regression Discontinuity Design; Teenage Motherhood

JEL codes

  • I21: Analysis of Education
  • J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

Title of seriesStirling Economics Discussion Paper
Number in series2017-01
Publication date online12/07/2017