Understanding Child Outcomes: An Application to Child Abuse and Neglect
Recently, there have been several empirical studies exploring the effects of abortion on child outcome by correlating the availability of abortion to a mother at the time of a child's birth. This paper presents a model that helps explain the process, as well as establish that the incidence of child neglect is also reduced by access to abortion. It argues that the birth of a child reduces the desired quality of not only that particular birth but of all previous and subsequent offspring. More specifically, a family does not reduce the quality invested in a particular child, whether unwanted or not, but in all family members. Several propositions derived from the model are empirically tested. Some of the findings include that access to abortion reduces the neglect of children, yet is positively associated with sexual abuse. Furthermore, unlike the stylized facts, blacks and female-headed households are no more likely to neglect and abuse their children than other households once availability of abortion, employment status, income and other variables are taken into account. Finally, income and the poverty rate are found to be unrelated with maltreatment, while other variables such as the unemployment rate have better explanatory power.
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