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Roe V.Wade and American Fertility


  • Levine, P-B
  • Staiger, D
  • Kane, T-J
  • Zimmerman, D-J


Our purpose in this paper is to address the impact of abortion legalization in the United States on women's fertility behavior. First, we present a model indicating it is quite possible that the effects of abortion legalization are different than an extrapolation of the effects of relatively minor restrictions on abortions, such as Medicaid funding. Second, we use variation in the timing of abortion liberalization across states to estimate the effects on birth rates in the United States. Finally, birth rates in states legalizing abortion prior to 1983 can be compared to control group states and more likely to do so if they are closer, such comparisons by distance can examine the extent to which birth rates in control group states also declined as a result of access to legal abortions in other states.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:wecoec:96-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lundberg, Shelly & Plotnick, Robert D, 1995. "Adolescent Premarital Childbearing: Do Economic Incentives Matter?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 177-200, April.
    2. Matthews, S. & Ribar, D. & Wilhelm, M., 1995. "The Effects of Economic Conditions and Access to Reproductive Health Services on State Abortion and Birth Rates," Papers 7-95-4, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
    3. Janet Currie & Lucia Nixon & Nancy Cole, 1993. "Restrictions on Medicaid Funding of Abortion: Effects on Pregnancy Resolutions and Birth Weight," NBER Working Papers 4432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Joyce, T.J. & Mocan, N.H., 1990. "The impact of legalized abortion on adolescent childbearing in New York City," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 80(3), pages 273-278.
    5. Blank, Rebecca M. & George, Christine C. & London, Rebecca A., 1996. "State abortion rates the impact of policies, providers, politics, demographics, and economic environment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 513-553, October.
    6. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas Staiger, 1996. "Teen Motherhood and Abortion Access," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 467-506.
    7. Quick, J.D., 1978. "Liberalized abortion in Oregon: effects on fertility, prematurity, fetal death, and infant death," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 68(10), pages 1003-1008.
    8. Levine, Phillip B. & Trainor, Amy B. & Zimmerman, David J., 1996. "The effect of Medicaid abortion funding restrictions on abortions, pregnancies and births," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 555-578, October.
    9. Pakter, J. & O'Hare, D. & Nelson, F. & Svigir, M., 1973. "Two years experience in New York City with the liberalized abortion law--progress and problems," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 63(6), pages 524-535.
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    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth


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