Publication Title: Economic Development and Cultural Change
Abstract: This article analyzes whether children born to teen mothers in Cape Town, South Africa, are disadvantaged in terms of their health outcomes because their mother is a teen. Exploiting the longitudinal nature of the Cape Area Panel Study, we assess whether observable differences between teen mothers and slightly older mothers can explain why firstborn children of teen mothers appear disadvantaged. Our balanced regressions indicate that observed characteristics cannot explain the full extent of the disadvantage of being born to a teen mother, with children born to teen mothers continuing to have significantly worse child health outcomes, especially among Coloured children. In particular, children born to teens are more likely to be underweight at birth and to be stunted, with the disadvantage for Coloured children four times that for African children.