THE EFFECTS OF STATUTORY RAPE LAWS ON NONMARITAL TEENAGE CHILDBEARING
CHRISTOPHER A. JEPSEN
LISA K. JEPSEN
Many policy makers view the enforcement of statutory rape laws as a way to reduce teenage childbirths. This article considers whether unmarried teenage girls covered by a state statutory rape law are less likely to give birth than girls who are not covered by a statutory rape law. The presence of statutory rape laws is negatively correlated with nonmarital birthrates for white females but is not a significant predictor for black or Hispanic females. In contrast, the enforcement of statutory rape laws has a deterrent effect on teen childbearing for blacks and Hispanics but not for whites. (JEL "J13,""K14") Copyright 2006 Western Economic Association International.
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