Access to Abortion, Investments in Neonatal Health, and Sex-Selection: Evidence from Nepal
AbstractThe impact of abortion reforms on the human capital of subsequent generations, including health, has been documented in several developed countries. However, (i) evidence relative to the impact on health in early life is not unanimous, (ii) there is no evidence for a developing country, where health human capital is low, and (iii) existing econometric studies have been unable to disentangle the effect of abortion reform on individual behavior from that on the composition of mothers. In this paper, I exploit variation in the timing and location of newly introduced legal abortion centers in Nepal to estimate the effect of reducing the psychological and _nancial cost of abortion on fertility, investments in prenatal care, neonatal mortality, and sex-selection. Consistent with the prediction that the opening of a legal abortion center nearby reduces the cost of abortion, I find that the probability of a live birth conditional on conception decreases by 8.3 percentage points (9 percent of the mean), for a given mother. Similarly, the unconditional monthly probability of a live birth decreases by 0.4 percentage points (21 percent of the mean). However, there is no evidence that improved access to abortion increases observed investments in antenatal care and little evidence that it increases unobserved investments in neonatal health. Contrary to _ndings in Lin et al. (2008) for Taiwan, abortion reform in Nepal does not appear to have led to sex-selective terminations. On the contrary, there is some evidence that it may have led to a decrease in sex-selective abortion, which could be due to the substitution of first-trimester legal abortions to illegal abortions at a later gestational stage.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 10/15.
Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Other versions of this item:
- Christine Valente, 2011. "Access to Abortion, Investments in Neonatal Health, and Sex-Selection: Evidence from Nepal," Working Papers 2011006, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2011.
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
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- Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2010. "The Supply of Birth Control Methods, Education, and Fertility: Evidence from Romania," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 971-997.
- Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2006. "The Impact of an Abortion Ban on Socioeconomic Outcomes of Children: Evidence from Romania," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 744-773, August.
- Nicholas Wilson, 2011.
"Fertility Responses to Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV,"
Center for Development Economics
2011-08, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Sep 2011.
- Nicholas Wilson, 2011. "Fertility Responses to Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-13, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Sep 2011.
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