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Abortion Policy and Fertility Outcomes: The Eastern European Experience

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  • Levine, Phillip B
  • Staiger, Douglas

Abstract

Theory suggests that abortion restrictions will influence fertility outcomes such as pregnancy, abortion, and birth. This paper exploits the variations in abortion policy generated in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s to examine their impact on fertility outcomes. We distinguish among countries with severe, moderate, and few restrictions on abortion access and examine the impact of changes across all three categories. As we hypothesize, the results indicate that countries that changed from very restrictive to liberal abortion laws experienced a large reduction in births. Changes from modest restrictions to abortion available on request, however, led to no such change in births despite large increases in abortions, which indicates that pregnancies rose in response to more liberal abortion availability. This evidence is generally consistent with the situation that was brought about by changes in abortion access in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Levine, Phillip B & Staiger, Douglas, 2004. "Abortion Policy and Fertility Outcomes: The Eastern European Experience," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 223-243, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2004:v:47:i:1:p:223-43
    DOI: 10.1086/380475
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    Cited by:

    1. Cornelia Mureşan, 2008. "Impact of Induced Abortion on Fertility in Romania," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 24(4), pages 425-446, December.
    2. Wanchuan Lin & Juan Pantano, 2015. "The unintended: negative outcomes over the life cycle," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 479-508, April.
    3. Kotsadam, Andreas & Jakobsson, Niklas, 2011. "Do laws affect attitudes? An assessment of the Norwegian prostitution law using longitudinal data," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 103-115, June.
    4. Dills, Angela K. & Grecu, Anca M., 2017. "Effects of state contraceptive insurance mandates," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 30-42.
    5. Colman, Silvie & Dee, Thomas S. & Joyce, Ted, 2013. "Do parental involvement laws deter risky teen sex?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 873-880.
    6. Gábor Hajdu & Tamás Hajdu, 2021. "The long-term impact of restricted access to abortion on children’s socioeconomic outcomes," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(3), pages 1-14, March.
    7. Andrew Beauchamp, 2016. "Abortion Costs, Separation, and Non-marital Childbearing," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 182-196, June.
    8. Forsstrom, Matthew P., 2021. "Abortion Costs and Single Parenthood: A Life-Cycle Model of Fertility and Partnership Behavior," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    9. Nina Brooks & Tom Zohar, 2021. "Out of Labor and Into the Labor Force? The Role of Abortion Access, Social Stigma, and Financial Constraints," Working Papers wp2021_2111, CEMFI.
    10. Brainerd, Elizabeth, 2010. "The Demographic Transformation of Post-Socialist Countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 015, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Bowmaker, Simon W. & Emerson, Patrick M., 2009. "Still Waiting for Mister Right? Asymmetric Information, Abortion Laws and the Timing of Marriage," IZA Discussion Papers 4176, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. José-Ignacio Antón & Zuleika Ferre & Patricia Triunfo, 2016. "The impact of abortion legalisation on birth outcomes in Uruguay," Economics working papers 2016-06, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    13. José‐Ignacio Antón & Zuleika Ferre & Patricia Triunfo, 2018. "The impact of the legalisation of abortion on birth outcomes in Uruguay," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(7), pages 1103-1119, July.
    14. Elizabeth Brainerd, 2010. "The Demographic Transformation of Post-Socialist Countries: Causes, Consequences, and Questions," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2010-015, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Paul J. Gertler & Manisha Shah, 2011. "Sex Work and Infection: What's Law Enforcement Got to Do with It?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 811-840.
    16. José Ignacio Nazif-Munoz & Rose Chabot, 2022. "Mapping and assessing sexual and reproductive health policy changes over time in Colombia: measuring their impact on pregnancy terminations," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 9(1), pages 1-13, December.
    17. Jonathan Klick & Sven Neelsen & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "The Effect of Abortion Liberalization on Sexual Behavior: International Evidence," ifo Working Paper Series 79, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    18. Anthony A. Noce & Dhimtri Qirjo & Namini De Silva, 2016. "Enticing the Stork: Can we Evaluate Pro-Natal Policies Before Having Children?," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 184-202, June.

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