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Restrictions on Medicaid Funding of Abortion: Effects on Birth Weight and Pregnancy Resolutions

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  • Janet Currie
  • Lucia A. Nixon
  • Nancy Cole

Abstract

Previous research suggests that restricting the availability of abortion reduces average birth weight. In this paper we use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to reexamine this question. Most previous studies have estimated the probability that a pregnancy is carried to term, and then used these estimates to calculate "selection corrections" that are included in models of birth weight. We focus instead on reduced form models of birth weight that are not affected by underreporting of abortion, and that do not involve strong identifying restrictions. We also explore the potential endogeneity of abortion laws by comparing jurisdictions with abortion restrictions to jurisdictions where restrictive laws have been passed but are enjoined by the courts. Our results provide little support for the hypothesis that restrictions reduce average birth weight. We also find some evidence that abortion restrictions are endogenous, and that estimated effects on birth weight may reflect unobserved characteristics of states.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Mathematica Policy Research in its series Mathematica Policy Research Reports with number 2016.

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Date of creation: 28 Feb 1997
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Handle: RePEc:mpr:mprres:2016

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References

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  1. Elizabeth Cooksey, 1990. "Factors in the Resolution of Adolescent Premarital Pregnancies," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 207-218, May.
  2. Hope Corman & Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1987. "Birth Outcome Production Functions in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 1729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Mark R. Rosenzweig & T. Paul Schultz, 1982. "The Behavior of Mothers as Inputs to Child Health: The Determinants of Birth Weight, Gestation, and Rate of Fetal Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 53-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Grossman, Michael & Joyce, Theodore J, 1990. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birth Weight Production Functions in New York City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 983-1007, October.
  5. Michael Grossman & Steven Jacobowitz, 1981. "Variations in infant mortality rates among counties of the United States: The roles of public policies and programs," Demography, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 695-713, November.
  6. Rebecca M. Blank & Christine C. George & Rebecca A. London, 1994. "State Abortion Rates: The Impact of Policies, Providers, Politics, Demographics, and Economic Environment," NBER Working Papers 4853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Corman, Hope & Grossman, Michael, 1985. "Determinants of neonatal mortality rates in the U.S. : A reduced form model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 213-236, September.
  8. Theodore Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1990. "Pregnancy wantedness and the early initiation of prenatal care," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 1-17, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Philip J. Cook & Allan M. Parnell & Michael J. Moore & Deanna Pagnini, 1996. "The Effects of Short-Term Variation in Abortion Funding on Pregnancy Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5843, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sen, Bisakha, 2003. "An indirect test for whether restricting Medicaid funding for abortion increases pregnancy-avoidance behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 155-163, November.
  3. Charles, Kerwin Kofi & Stephens, Melvin, Jr, 2006. "Abortion Legalization and Adolescent Substance Use," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 481-505, October.
  4. Sen, Bisakha, 2003. "A Preliminary Investigation of The Effects of Restrictions on Medicaid Funding for Abortions on Female STD Rates," MPRA Paper 1074, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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