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Africa Economic Brief - Volume 8 Issue 6 - Teen Fertility and Labor Market Segmentation in Madagascar


Women’s economic opportunities are both an important outcome and driver of successful economic development (Duflo 2012). In recent decades, increasing rates of female participation in the labor market and declining fertility across the globe were simultaneously witnessed (Heath and Jayachandran 2016). Fertility rates are often cited as an important determinant of female employment outcomes (Verick 2014). Adolescence may represent a critical window for intervening to influence the economic opportunities of women (Bandiera et al. 2015), as early childbearing and marriage can interrupt human capital accumulation (Field and Ambrus 2008; Baird, McIntosh, and Özler 2011; Herrera and Sahn 2015).

Women represent the majority of informal sector workers in developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where adolescent pregnancy rates are high. Using a unique panel data set from Madagascar, specifically designed to capture the transition of a cohort of young women (and men) from adolescence to adulthood, we explored the effects of teenage pregnancy on young women’s labor force participation and sector of employment. We examined this issue for a cohort of young women between the ages of 21 and 23 years old at the time of the survey. This question is particularly salient in Madagascar, where one in three girls between the ages of 15 and 19 have a child or are pregnant for the first time (Demo - graphic Health Survey, 2009).

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