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State Abortion Rates: The Impact of Policies, Providers, Politics, Demographics, and Economic Environment

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  • Rebecca M. Blank
  • Christine C. George
  • Rebecca A. London

Abstract

This paper uses data on abortion rates from 1974-88, to estimate two-stage least squares models with fixed state and year effects. The results indicate that implementing restrictions on Medicaid funding for abortion results in lower aggregate abortion rates in-state and higher abortion rates among nearby states, suggesting one of the main effects of these policies is to induce cross-state migration for abortion services. The effect of these restrictions on actual abortions among state residents is much smaller; a maximal estimate suggests that 22 percent of the abortions among low-income women that are publicly funded do not take place after funding is eliminated. We also have substantial evidence that a larger number of abortion providers in a state increases the abortion rate within the state, primarily through inducing cross-state migration, with nonhospital providers being particularly important. Political affiliation variables have mixed effects and are difficult to interpret. Controlling for state fixed effects, the effect of changes in demographic and economic variables over time is typically small, although a rise in unemployment has consistently positive effects on abortion rates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4853.

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Date of creation: Sep 1994
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Publication status: published as Journal of Health Economics, Vol.15, pp.513-553, 1996.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4853

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  1. Elizabeth Cooksey, 1990. "Factors in the Resolution of Adolescent Premarital Pregnancies," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 207-218, May.
  2. Blank, Rebecca M. & George, Christine C. & London, Rebecca A., 1996. "State abortion rates the impact of policies, providers, politics, demographics, and economic environment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 513-553, October.
  3. Theodore Joyce & Robert Kaestner, 1995. "State Reproductive Policies and Adolescent Pregnancy Resolution: The Case of Parental Involvement Laws," NBER Working Papers 5354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Stephan F. Gohmann & Robert L. Ohsfeldt, 1993. "Effects Of Price And Availability On Abortion Demand," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 11(4), pages 42-55, October.
  5. Levine, Phillip B. & Trainor, Amy B. & Zimmerman, David J., 1996. "The effect of Medicaid abortion funding restrictions on abortions, pregnancies and births," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 555-578, October.
  6. Medoff, Marshall H, 1988. "An Economic Analysis of the Demand for Abortions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(2), pages 353-59, April.
  7. Robert L. Ohsfeldt & Stephan F. Gohmann, 1994. "Do Parental Involvement Laws Reduce Adolescent Abortion Rates?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(2), pages 65-76, 04.
  8. Deborah Haas-Wilson, 1993. "The economic impact of state restrictions on abortion: Parental consent and notification laws and medicaid funding restrictions," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 498-511.
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