Savings from Sexual Avoidance and Empowerment over Risks

2017-2021

The Savings from Sexual Avoidance and Empowerment over Risks (SSAvER) project consists of two studies focused on economic savings. Both studies will engage key stakeholders to identify targeted research questions, operationalize core variables, and identify best practices in economic analysis.

The purpose of the first study is to identify the economic savings associated with teens’ delay of sex. Prior work that assessed costs associated with teen pregnancy and births will be considered, including the identification of outcomes associated with delayed sexual initiation, calculation of causal effects of sexual delay on outcomes, and assignment of dollar values to causal effects. This study will also examine costs and benefits beyond the physical consequences of teen childbearing and acquisition of STDs.

The purpose of the second study is to identify the economic savings associated with adhering to the success sequence. The success sequence refers to a series of life milestones as a means to adult self-sufficiency and well-being. While definitions of the milestones differ, they typically include achieving at least a high school education, finding and maintaining a job, and getting married before having children. Existing research will be considered, including definitions of and outcomes associated with each milestone, calculation of causal effects of each milestone on outcomes, and assignment of dollar values to causal effects.

The primary activities that will inform the economic savings analysis for each study includes: (1) targeted literature review, (2) discussions with experts, and (3) limited analysis of existing data sets.

This project is being conducted under contract to Mathematica Policy Research and is overseen by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, in collaboration with other partners at the Administration for Children and Families and HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

Point(s) of contact: Caryn Blitz and Kathleen McCoy.

Related Resources

Explore findings from the success sequence economic analysis.

This report provides summary estimates of the net lifetime benefit that accrues when a single adolescent chooses to delay voluntary sexual activity. These estimates are useful for valuing the type of changes in behavior that are possible in response to federally funded and other sexual risk avoidance and teen pregnancy prevention programs.

This report presents findings from the literature review, which sought to summarize (1) how researchers and commentators have variously defined the success sequence, (2) research on the individual milestones that make up the success sequence, and (3) research on the relationship between the success sequence milestones and economic outcomes in adulthood. The summary encompasses policy reports and commentaries as well as research studies from the academic fields of demography, economics, and sociology.

For several decades, the federal government has supported programs that encourage adolescents to wait to have sex. This support stems in part from the evidence and expectations that delaying sexual activity can have important benefits for adolescents and society as a whole. The most direct of these benefits are reductions in teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, research has also found benefits of delayed sexual activity extending beyond these physical outcomes...