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More Women Missing, Fewer Girls Dying: The Impact of Abortion on Sex Ratios at Birth and Excess Female Mortality in Taiwan

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  • Ming-Jen Lin
  • Nancy Qian
  • Jin-Tan Liu

Abstract

This paper presents novel empirical evidence on the impact of access to abortion on sex ratios at birth (SRB), excess female mortality (EFM) and fertility in Taiwan. For identification, we exploit plausibly exogenous variation in the availability of sex-selective abortion caused by the legalization of abortion. Our results show that the legalization of abortion accounts for almost all of the observed increase in SRB during the 1980s and decreased EFM by approximately 20%. Approximately ten more female infants survived for every one hundred that were aborted. Interestingly, we find that while abortion reduced overall fertility, it increased fertility for older mothers.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14541.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14541

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  1. Angrist, Joshua, 2001. "How Do Sex Ratios Affect Marriage and Labor Markets? Evidence from America's Second Generation," IZA Discussion Papers 368, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Qian, Nancy, 2006. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5986, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Shin-Yi Chou & Jin-Tan Liu & Michael Grossman & Theodore J. Joyce, 2007. "Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Taiwan," NBER Working Papers 13466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John Donohue & Steven Levitt, 2000. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime," NBER Working Papers 8004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Thomas, D., 1995. "Like Father, Like Son, Like Mother, Like Daughter, Parental Resources and Child Height," Papers, RAND - Reprint Series 95-01, RAND - Reprint Series.
  6. Jason Abrevaya, 2009. "Are There Missing Girls in the United States? Evidence from Birth Data," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-34, April.
  7. Robin Burgess & Juzhong Zhuang, 2000. "Modernisation and son preference," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 2115, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Duncan Thomas & John Strauss & Maria-Helena Henriques, 1991. "How Does Mother's Education Affect Child Height?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 183-211.
  9. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1982. "Market Opportunities, Genetic Endowments, and Intrafamily Resource Distribution: Child Survival in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 803-15, September.
  10. Karen Norberg, 2004. "Partnership Status and the Human Sex Ratio at Birth," NBER Working Papers 10920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Lena Edlund, 1999. "Son Preference, Sex Rations, and Marriage Patterns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1275-1304, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Hu, Luojia & Schlosser, Analia, 2011. "Prenatal Sex Selection and Girls' Well-Being: Evidence from India," IZA Discussion Papers 5562, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Anukriti, S & Kumler, Todd J., 2014. "Tariffs, Social Status, and Gender in India," IZA Discussion Papers 7969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Valente, Christine, 2014. "Access to abortion, investments in neonatal health, and sex-selection: Evidence from Nepal," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 225-243.
  4. S. Anukriti, 2013. "The Fertility-Sex Ratio Tradeoff: Unintended Consequences of Financial Incentives," Boston College Working Papers in Economics, Boston College Department of Economics 827, Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "China's Gender Imbalance and its Economic Performance," Economics Discussion / Working Papers, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics 12-10, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  6. Claus C Pörtner, 2010. "Sex Selective Abortions, Fertility and Birth Spacing," Working Papers, University of Washington, Department of Economics UWEC-2010-04-R, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2010.
  7. Esther Duflo, 2011. "Women’s Empowerment and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 17702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Avraham Ebenstein, 2011. "Estimating a Dynamic Model of Sex Selection in China," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 783-811, May.

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