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date: 27 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores trends, causes, and consequences of nonmarital and teen fertility in the United States and in selected European countries. First, the chapter describes some key factors, including changes in economic institutions and family planning technologies, that likely contribute to the large changes in patterns of marriage and fertility observed in developed countries in recent decades. Second, it indicates that substantial empirical hurdles to credibly estimating the impacts of nonmarital and teen fertility on adults’ and children’s outcomes remain, though recent evidence suggests more modest impacts than early evidence. Finally, it explores new directions in this research area, arguing that the conventional comparison between nonmarital and marital births should be revised to incorporate more adequately the rapidly growing number of births to cohabiting partners. Additional directions include continuing analysis of the dynamic impacts of the Great Recession and an integration of biological considerations into the economic analysis of fertility.

Keywords: nonmarital fertility, teen fertility, family economics, contraception, cohabitation, Great Recession, genetics

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