Abortion Costs, Separation and Non-Marital Childbearing
How do abortion costs affect non-marital childbearing? While greater access to abortion has the first-order effect of reducing childbearing among pregnant women, it could nonetheless lead to unintended consequences via effects on marriage market norms. Single motherhood could rise if lower-cost abortion makes it easier for men to avoid marriage. We identify the effect of abortion costs on separation, cohabitation and marriage following a birth by exploiting the "miscarriage-as-a-natural experiment" methodology in combination with changes in state abortion laws. Recent increases in abortion restrictions appear to have lead to a sizable decrease in a woman's chances of being single and increased the chances of cohabitation. The result underscores the importance of the marriage market search behavior of men and women, and the positive and negative effects of abortion laws on bargaining power for women who abort and give birth respectively.
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