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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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Bibliographic Info

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. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285, August.
  2. Donohue, John J. & Levitt, Steven D., 2000. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt00p599hk, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  3. Lena Edlund, 1999. "Son Preference, Sex Rations, and Marriage Patterns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1275-1304, December.
  4. 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).
  5. Robin Burgess & Juzhong Zhuang, 2000. "Modernisation and Son Preference," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 29, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  6. Karen Norberg, 2004. "Partnership Status and the Human Sex Ratio at Birth," NBER Working Papers 10920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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, vol. 72(4), pages 803-15, September.
  8. 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.
  9. Thomas, D., 1995. "Like Father, Like Son, Like Mother, Like Daughter, Parental Resources and Child Height," Papers 95-01, RAND - Reprint Series.
  10. Jason Abrevaya, 2009. "Are There Missing Girls in the United States? Evidence from Birth Data," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-34, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Esther Duflo, 2012. "Women Empowerment and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1051-79, December.
  2. 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).
  3. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "China's Gender Imbalance and its Economic Performance," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 12-10, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  4. Esther Duflo, 2011. "Women’s Empowerment and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 17702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Claus C Pörtner, 2010. "Sex Selective Abortions, Fertility and Birth Spacing," Working Papers UWEC-2010-04-R, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2010.

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