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Abortion and Selection

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Author Info

  • Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat
  • Jonathan Gruber
  • Phillip B. Levine
  • Douglas Staiger

Abstract

The introduction of legalized abortion in the early 1970s led to dramatic changes in fertility behavior. Some research has suggested as well that there were important impacts on cohort outcomes, but this literature has been limited and controversial. In this paper, we provide a framework for understanding the mechanisms through which abortion access affects cohort outcomes, and use that framework to both address inconsistent past methodological approaches, and provide evidence on the long-run impact on cohort characteristics. Our results provide convincing evidence that abortion legalization altered young adult outcomes through selection. In particular, we find evidence that lower costs of abortion led to improved outcomes in the birth cohort in the form of an increased likelihood of college graduation, lower rates of welfare use, and lower odds of being a single parent. We also find that our empirical innovations do not substantially alter earlier results regarding the relationship between abortion and crime, although most of that relationship appears to reflect cohort size effects rather than selection.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12150.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12150

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References

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  1. John J. Donohue & Steven D. Levitt, 2001. "The Impact Of Legalized Abortion On Crime," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 379-420, May.
  2. Ted Joyce, 2004. "Further Tests of Abortion and Crime," NBER Working Papers 10564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Christopher L. Foote & Christopher F. Goetz, 2005. "Testing economic hypotheses with state-level data: a comment on Donohue and Levitt (2001)," Working Papers 05-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  4. John J. Donohue, III & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Further Evidence that Legalized Abortion Lowered Crime: A Reply to Joyce," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  5. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip B. Levine, 2004. "Abortion Legalization and Lifecycle Fertility," NBER Working Papers 10705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  8. Levine, Phillip B., 2003. "Parental involvement laws and fertility behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 861-878, September.
  9. Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Abortion Legalization And Child Living Circumstances: Who Is The ''Marginal Child''?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 263-291, February.
  10. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
  11. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
  12. Ted Joyce, 2001. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," NBER Working Papers 8319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Arnaud Chevalier & Olivier Marie, 2014. "Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and the Criminal Activity of the 'Children of the Wall'," CEP Discussion Papers dp1256, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Kendall, Todd & Tamura, Robert, 2008. "Unmarried fertility, crime, and cocial stigma," MPRA Paper 8031, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Christopher Carpenter & Sabina Postolek & Casey Warman, 2010. "Public-Place Smoking Laws and Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)," NBER Working Papers 15849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sen, Bisakha & Wingate, Martha Slay & Kirby, Russell, 2012. "The relationship between state abortion-restrictions and homicide deaths among children under 5 years of age: A longitudinal study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 156-164.
  5. Martha J. Bailey, 2014. "Fifty Years Of Family Planning: New Evidence On The Long-Run Effects Of Increasing Access To Contraception," Working Papers 14-15, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. Arnaud Chevalier & Olivier Marie, 2013. "Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and the Criminal Activity of the "Children of the Wall"," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 605, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  7. Leonid V. Azarnert, 2008. "Abortion and Human Capital Accumulation: A Contribution to the Understanding of the Gender Gap in Education," Working Papers 2008-06, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  8. Elizabeth Ananat & Anna Gassman-Pines & Christina Gibson-Davis, 2013. "Community-Wide Job Loss and Teenage Fertility: Evidence From North Carolina," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(6), pages 2151-2171, December.
  9. Tal Gross & Jeanne Lafortune & Corinne Low, 2012. "What Happens the Morning After? The Costs and Benets of Expanding Access to Emergency Contraception," Documentos de Trabajo 425, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  10. Marcotte, Dave E., 2013. "High school dropout and teen childbearing," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 258-268.
  11. Leonard, Jonathan & Mas, Alexandre, 2008. "Welfare reform, time limits, and infant health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1551-1566, December.
  12. Whitaker, Stephan, 2011. "The impact of legalized abortion on high school graduation through selection and composition," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 228-246, April.
  13. Elizabeth Ananat & Anna Gassman-Pines & Christina M. Gibson-Davis, 2013. "Community-Wide Job Loss and Teenage Fertility," NBER Working Papers 19003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Theodore J. Joyce, 2009. "Abortion and Crime: A Review," NBER Working Papers 15098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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