This mixed methods study attempts to understand the effect of teenage childbearing in determining future socio-economic consequences for teenage mothers. This is accomplished by assessing the effect of a teen birth on outcomes such as educational attainment, employment, welfare and poverty in South Africa by applying a sibling-fixed effects technique. Using the National Income Dynamics Study dataset (2012), the paper compares siblings to control for family background heterogeneity and finds that teenage childbearing has a strong negative relationship with the completion of matric and a positive relationship with employment and welfare. This relationship is underestimated by traditional cross-sectional estimates which points to the importance of controlling for unobserved family heterogeneity. To complement these findings, the study also highlights the role of the family and the school in providing support structures to smoothen the immediate adverse effects of teenage childbearing. These findings indicate that interventions are needed which directly delay childbearing as well as create supportive environments at the family and school level.

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Keywords teenage childbearing, socio-economic consequences, South Africa, mixed methods
Publisher International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)
Persistent URL
Series ISS Working Papers - General Series
Journal ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
Kakal, T. (2015). A tale of two sisters : Investigating the socio-economic outcomes of teen childbearing in South Africa (No. 604). ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 604, pp. 1–46). International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS). Retrieved from