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Abortion and Female Power in the Household Evidence from Labor Supply

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  • Sonia Oreffice

    (The University of Chicago)

Abstract

Legalization of abortion in the 1970s represents a major cultural change: it gives women a higher degree of freedom to directly control their fertility, allowing them to ultimately decide upon children without man’s consent and to decrease uncertainty in their expected labor market returns. This public policy and its implications on female behavior have been so far analyzed through its direct consequences on fertility and fertility technology, primarily on women actually experiencing an abortion. However, it seems relevant to evaluate its indirect effects on female bargaining power within the household, for all women that face abortion as an actual opportunity, without necessarily experiencing one. I focus on the indirect effect of abortion legalization in the United States on women’s position in the household. My findings suggest that the legalization positively affected female bargaining power.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2003.41.

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Date of creation: Apr 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2003.41

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Keywords: Abortion; collective household behavior; labor supply;

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  2. Blundell, Richard & Pashardes, Panos & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "What Do We Learn About Consumer Demand Patterns from Micro Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 570-97, June.
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  8. Phillip B. Levine & Douglas Staiger & Thomas J. Kane & David J. Zimmerman, 1996. "Roe v. Wade and American Fertility," NBER Working Papers 5615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  11. Browning, Martin & Meghir, Costas, 1991. "The Effects of Male and Female Labor Supply on Commodity Demands," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 925-51, July.
  12. John Donohue & Steven Levitt, 2000. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime," NBER Working Papers 8004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-94, July.
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  17. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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