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The Effect of Abortion Legalization on Fertility, Marriage and Long-term Outcomes for Women

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  • Libertad González
  • Sergi Jiménez-Martín
  • Natalia Nollenberger
  • Judit Vall Castello

Abstract

We evaluate the short- and long-term effects for women of access to subsidized, legal abortion by exploiting the Spanish legalization of abortion in 1985. Using birth records and survey data, we find robust evidence that the legalization led to an immediate decrease in the number of births to women aged 21 and younger. This effect was driven by provinces with a higher supply of abortion services. In those regions, young women affected by the reform were also less likely to marry. Using data from the Labor Force Survey and exploiting the rollout of abortion clinics across provinces and over time, we find evidence that the affected cohorts of women, who were able to postpone fertility as a result of the legalization of abortion, achieved higher educational attainment and had higher life satisfaction 20 years after the reform. We do not find evidence of increases in the probability of being employed.

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  • Libertad González & Sergi Jiménez-Martín & Natalia Nollenberger & Judit Vall Castello, 2018. "The Effect of Abortion Legalization on Fertility, Marriage and Long-term Outcomes for Women," Studies on the Spanish Economy eee2018-08, FEDEA.
  • Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaeee:eee2018-08
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Deborah Haas-Wilson, 1996. "The Impact of State Abortion Restrictions on Minors' Demand for Abortions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 140-158.
    2. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip B. Levine & Douglas Staiger, 2009. "Abortion and Selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 124-136, February.
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    12. Jason M. Lindo & Caitlin Knowles Myers & Andrea Schlosser & Scott Cunningham, 2020. "How Far Is Too Far? New Evidence on Abortion Clinic Closures, Access, and Abortions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(4), pages 1137-1160.
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    Cited by:

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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