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Child Maltreatment, Abortion Availability, and Economic Conditions

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  • Marianne P. Bitler

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  • Madeline Zavodny

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Abstract

Child maltreatment is a substantial problem in the U.S. yet has received relatively little attention from economists. This article examines the relationship between abortion availability and economic factors at the time children were conceived and subsequent measures of child maltreatment in the U.S. as well as the influence of contemporaneous economic conditions. Our measures of child maltreatment are state-level rates of child abuse and neglect reports, the fraction of children receiving social services, and child deaths and murders. The results indicate that legalized abortion for each successive cohort led to a decline in total reported incidents of child abuse and neglect of about 10 percent and a negative effect on the fraction of children receiving social services. Child deaths and murders are not related to abortion legalization. Medicaid funding restrictions are associated with an increase in substantiated reports of abuse and an increase in murders by relatives or parents; other post-legalization restrictions are not consistently associated with the various measures of child maltreatment. The effects of welfare benefits, average income, and unemployment rates are mixed.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianne P. Bitler & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "Child Maltreatment, Abortion Availability, and Economic Conditions," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 119-141, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:2:y:2004:i:2:p:119-141
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    Cited by:

    1. Hussey, Andrew & Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Alex & Walker, Jay, 2010. "AIDing Contraception: HIV and Recent Trends in Abortion Rates," MPRA Paper 20895, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Cherry, Robert & Wang, Chun, 2016. "The link between male employment and child maltreatment in the U.S., 2000–2012," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 117-122.
    3. Serkan Ozbeklik, 2014. "The Effect Of Abortion Legalization On Childbearing By Unwed Teenagers In Future Cohorts," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 100-115, January.
    4. Daniel Brown & Elisabetta De Cao, 2017. "The Impact of Unemployment on Child Maltreatment in the United States," Economics Series Working Papers 837, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. Sara Markowitz & Alison Evans Cuellar & Ryan M. Conrad & Michael Grossman, 2011. "The Effects of Alcohol Policies in Reducing Entry Rates and Time Spent in Foster Care," NBER Working Papers 16915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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