Reproductive Health Laws Around the World
We develop an index of reproductive health laws around the world. Laws regarding abortion, contraceptive pill, condom, intrauterine device, and sterilization are detailed for 186 countries from 1960 through to 2009. Using qualitative information dating from the 1960s, we code information on reproductive health laws around the world into panel data. In this paper we summarize the indexation of the laws, detailing the sources and methodologies we used to create the index. We show changes in the laws over time, and compare laws across countries. In addition, we demonstrate the potential use of the panel data by exploring the differential liberalization of reproductive health laws across country-level socioeconomic factors. We show that countries with more liberal abortion laws associated with higher income per capita, higher levels of female education, and lower fertility rates.
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