The Effect of Abortion Liberalization on Sexual Behavior: International Evidence
Most industrialized countries have increased access to abortion over the past 30 years. Economic theory predicts that abortion laws affect sexual behavior since they change the marginal cost of having risky sex. We use gonorrhea incidence as a metric of risky sexual behavior. Using a panel of 41 North American, European and Central Asian countries over the period 1980-2000, we estimate the impact of abortion law reform on risky sex. Compared to the most restrictive legislation that permits abortion only to save the pregnant woman’s life or her physical health, more liberal abortion laws are associated with at least thirty additional gonorrhea cases per 100,000 individuals. The marginal effect of laws which make abortion available on request is larger than the effect of laws which allow abortion on socioeconomic and mental health grounds. Our results are robust against a set of alternative sample constructions and model specifications.
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- Phillip B. Levine & Douglas Staiger & Thomas J. Kane & David J. Zimmerman, 1996.
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NBER Working Papers
5615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 167-218
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Phillip B. Levine, 2000. "The Sexual Activity and Birth Control Use of American Teenagers," NBER Working Papers 7601, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Phillip B. Levine, 2000. "The Sexual Activity and Birth Control Use of American Teenagers," JCPR Working Papers 161, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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- Thomas Stratmann, 2008. "Abortion Access and Risky Sex Among Teens: Parental Involvement Laws and Sexually Transmitted Diseases," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 2-21, May.
- 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 223-43, April.
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