Cost of Adolescent Childbearing: A Review of Evidence from Chile, Barbados, Guatemala and Mexico

Jul 1998
Does early childbearing restrict women's social and economic opportunities? These questions are explored by examining the effects, first on marital status and family formation, and second on women's employment options, earnings and poverty condition. The four studies presented here (from Chile, Barbados, Guatemala and Mexico) include controls for background variables and the timing of the consequences of observations. The review describes gross differences that emerged in the studies and explores how much the observed differences were due to background factors associated with adolescent childbearing, including poverty, which is a potentially large confounding variable in developing economies. The presence of sizable poverty and the nature of women's economic participation provide the common ground to assess consequences of adolescent childbearing in countries that otherwise iffer considerable in the cultural circumstances surrounding family formation and childbearing.