The Effect of Parental Involvement Laws on Teen Birth Control Use


Joseph J Sabia, D. Mark Anderson


Journal of Health Economics


In Volume 32, Issue 5 of this journal, Colman, Dee, and Joyce (CDJ) used data from the National Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (NYRBS) and found that parental involvement (PI) laws had no effect on the probability that minors abstain from sex or use contraception. We re-examine this question, augmenting the NYRBS with data from the State Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (SYRBS), and use a variety of identification strategies to control for state-level time-varying unmeasured heterogeneity. Consistent with CDJ, we find that PI laws have no effect on minor teen females’ abstinence decisions. However, when we exploit additional state policy variation unavailable to CDJ and use non-minor teens as a within-state control group, we find evidence to suggest that PI laws are associated with an increase in the probability that sexually active minor teen females use birth control.



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