Teenage Mums and Poverty

In a recent paper in the Journal of Economics Perspectives, Philip Levine and Melissa Kearney use some novel techniques and data on miscarriages to ask whether teenage mums have children because they are poor or are they poor because they have children (their paper is available here and you can read Slate's coverage here).  Interestingly, their evidence seems to indicate that teenage girls have children because they live in impoverished circumstances with poor future prospects.  This, of course, raises questions about the future prospects of the offspring of teenage mothers.  What role can public policy play in dealing with this issue?  Does rising inequality and reduced social mobility make it harder for poor teenagers to escape the poverty trap?   

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