The Impact of Advanced Maternal Age on the Young Adult Outcomes of the Next Generation

Student Author(s)

Genevieve Sponseller

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Sarah Estelle, Economics

Document Type


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According to the National Center for Health Statistics, from 1970 to 2015, the average age at first birth in the United States increased from 21.4 to 26.5 years (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). To learn what this trend means for the next generation, this research estimates the relationship between advanced maternal age and several young adult outcomes. Specifically, it considers the outcomes of educational attainment and health behaviors, including alcohol consumption and drug and smoking behaviors. This study uses nationally-representative panel data to conduct the analysis, which allows for siblings to be matched and compared. To discover the causal relationship between delayed motherhood on a child’s young adult outcomes, this research utilizes both sibling fixed effects and instrumental variable methods. These approaches account for otherwise unobservable characteristics of a woman that might influence both a mother’s decision of when to have children and her child’s young adult outcomes.

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