Examining the Impact of Early Childbearing on Education, Literacy, and Labour-market Outcomes in Four African Countries

We examined the impact of early childbearing on education, literacy, and labor-market outcomes of women in four African countries, using Demographic and Health Survey datasets. Cognizant of the endogeneity in this relationship, we identified the effect of teenage motherhood with individual respondents’ age at menarche. We employed 2SLS models to compare women with early childbearing to their counterparts who bore children later in life. Aligned with the findings for developed countries, we found that earlier childbearing had a large, negative, and significant marginal effect on literacy and educational attainment. We found no robust evidence that teenage motherhood had a significant or large direct impact on labor-market prospects, but we present evidence of an indirect pathway via literacy.