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Abortion and Female Power in the Household Evidence from Labor Supply

  • Sonia Oreffice

    (The University of Chicago)

Legalization of abortion in the 1970s represents a major cultural change: it gives women a higher degree of freedom to directly control their fertility, allowing them to ultimately decide upon children without man’s consent and to decrease uncertainty in their expected labor market returns. This public policy and its implications on female behavior have been so far analyzed through its direct consequences on fertility and fertility technology, primarily on women actually experiencing an abortion. However, it seems relevant to evaluate its indirect effects on female bargaining power within the household, for all women that face abortion as an actual opportunity, without necessarily experiencing one. I focus on the indirect effect of abortion legalization in the United States on women’s position in the household. My findings suggest that the legalization positively affected female bargaining power.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2003.41.

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Date of creation: Apr 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2003.41
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  1. Levine, P-B & Staiger, D & Kane, T-J & Zimmerman, D-J, 1996. "Roe V.Wade and American Fertility," Papers 96-03, Wellesley College - Department of Economics.
  2. Luis Rubalcava & Duncan Thomas, 2000. "Family Bargaining and Welfare," Working Papers 00-10, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
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  4. John Donohue & Steven Levitt, 2000. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime," NBER Working Papers 8004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy, 1998. "Household Labor Supply, Sharing Rule and the Marriage Market," Cahiers de recherche 9810, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  6. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  7. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
  8. Browning, Martin & Meghir, Costas, 1991. "The Effects of Male and Female Labor Supply on Commodity Demands," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 925-51, July.
  9. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-94, July.
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  12. Blundell, Richard & Pashardes, Panos & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "What Do We Learn About Consumer Demand Patterns from Micro Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 570-97, June.
  13. Thomas Mroz, . "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  14. Martin Browning & Pierre-Andre Chiappori, 1994. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: a General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Department of Economics Working Papers 1994-02, McMaster University.
  15. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  16. Gray, Jeffrey S, 1998. "Divorce-Law Changes, Household Bargaining, and Married Women's Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 628-42, June.
  17. Lawrence F. Katz & Claudia Goldin, 2000. "Career and Marriage in the Age of the Pill," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 461-465, May.
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