Parental Involvement (PI) laws are widespread and affect a large fraction of the teen, female population. We will conduct arguably the most comprehensive and credible assessment of the effect of PI laws on teen fertility. We will use unique data and novel methods to study whether PI laws affect teen fertility. Specifically, we will obtain estimates of the effect of PI laws on teen fertility using two approaches: a pre- and post-test with comparison group approach for states that adopted a PI law during the 1989 to 2009 period, and a regression discontinuity research design for states with and without PI laws. Our analysis will span 20 years and cover a period when PI laws were relatively rare to the current period when PI laws are ubiquitous. We will be able to study whether the effect of PI laws differs by the surrounding (geographically) regulatory environment, whether the effect differs by the type of law, and whether the effect differs by the strictness of the law.
The effect of Parental Involvement (PI) laws on teen fertility remains unknown, and the absence of knowledge about the effect of PI laws on births is an important shortfall in public health knowledge and an important gap in the evidence base related to theories about teen reproductive behavior. From a public health policy perspective, it is critical to know whether PI laws are affecting teen fertility given the consequences of such fertility for current and future well-being of both the mother and the child. From a behavioral perspective, it is important to understand whether teens are forward looking in their fertility behavior and responding to PI laws by altering sexual activity and/or contraception, or instead, that teens are myopic and reacting to the presence of a PI law subsequent to pregnancy.