Teenage Pregnancy and Motherhood in England: Do Parents’ Educational Expectations Matter?
Ericka G. Rascon-Ramirez, University of Essex
This paper analyses to what extent parental expectations about school choices influence fertility decisions of teenage girls in England. Using the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE) and the National Pupil Data (NPD), I model the likelihood of becoming pregnant and having a child conditional on several socio-demographic factors and parental expectations. Maximum likelihood methods and instrumental variable techniques show that high parental expectations decrease the likelihood of conceiving and having a child during adolescence. The effect is half as important as being born to a teenage mother. In addition, larger effects of parental expectations on teenage pregnancy and motherhood are found for teenage girls under-performing at school than for those performing above the mean of the academic achievement distribution. These findings open a new route for influencing fertility decisions among teenage girls by raising expectations of parents.